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Health Officials Stress Importance of Rabies Prevention

Page News and Courier The Shenandoah Valley-Herald The Valley Banner The Warren Sentinel
(Page County, Va.) – On December 3, a skunk attacked a dog on Elgin Drive in Page County north of Luray. Another skunk attacked a dog on December 21, less than 2 miles away on Vaughn Summit Road. Both of these skunks tested positive for rabies. Fortunately, no human exposure to rabies occurred.

“We want to make Page County residents aware of the possibility of such encounters and to reinforce the need for all dogs, cats and ferrets to have current vaccinations against the rabies virus,” said Lord Fairfax Health District Director Dr. Charles Devine. “State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated against rabies. Vaccines can be given as early as three months and one product is approved for kittens at eight weeks.”

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that lives in the saliva and brain and nerve tissue of the infected animal. Rabies is transmitted through a scratch, bite or by getting saliva or brain tissue in an open wound or in the eye or mouth. Rabies is preventable in domestic animals such as cats, dogs, ferrets and some livestock through vaccination, but fatal to both animals and humans once contracted.

The Page County Health Department strongly advises taking the following precautions to prevent families and pets from being exposed to rabies:

• Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies and keep them up to date.
• Avoid contact with wild animals or stray cats and dogs.
• Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs.
• Report stray animals to your local animal control agency.
• Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home.
• Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.

If your pets are not up to date on vaccinations, please contact your veterinarian. Also, the Page SPCA will be sponsoring a Rabies Clinic at the Page County Animal Shelter on Saturday, January 19, and Saturday, January 26, from 2-4 p.m. Contact the Page County Animal Shelter at (540) 778-2101 for questions regarding the clinic.

For more information, please contact the Page County Health Department (Lord Fairfax Health District) at (540)743-6528.
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