NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Unit along with the New Hanover County Health Department have identified and investigated five cases of animals with rabies since August 2014 in the 28411 zip code. The 28411 zip code includes the Northeast portion of New Hanover County (Murrayville, Ogden, Bayshore). Residents should always take precautions against rabies by avoiding wild or unfamiliar animals and ensuring their pets are up-to-date with rabies shots.
Since January 2014, the Animal Services Unit has submitted 57 specimens to the NC state lab, 9 of which were confirmed to be rabid. DPH only tests animals for rabies when there is potential human exposure. This means there may be many more infected wild animals than suggested by these numbers.
Rabies cannot be cured once symptoms appear. Therefore if a person is potentially exposed by an animal that tests positive for rabies, they will have to receive rabies shots (post exposure prophylaxis) to prevent them from developing the disease.
Signs of rabies in animals may include daytime activity in normally nocturnal animals, wild animals approaching humans or other animals, and difficulty walking or moving. Some rabid animals may be very aggressive while others may be very weak and have excessive salivation. Keep people and pets away from animals with any unusual behavior. Report stray dogs and cats to the Animal Services Unit.
For more information on rabies in North Carolina and links to current rabies data, please visit http://www.newhanoversheriff.com/animal-services-unit/ or http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/rabies.html.
Sgt. J.J. Brewer
Public Information Officer
New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office