Rabid skunk marks 6th rabies case in Orange County this year

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Orange County animal officials reported its sixth case of rabies after a rabid skunk made contact with a dog in Hillsborough on wednesday.

Officials said it happened Monday, March 16 in the area of Lake Orange Road and NC-86 in Hillsborough. The spotting is less than two miles from a previous case back in late February.

A resident found her dog barking at a disoriented skunk in her yard.

After separating the dog and skunk, the woman called Animal Control for testing.

The dog had current vaccinations so it received a booster shot.

Since the woman touched the dog, she is being evaluated for the risk of rabies exposure.

Officials said rabid skunks in this area are likely due to "spillover effect" meaning an animal other than the dominant species (raccoon) contracts the virus, it is known as spillover.

Other species that are susceptible are dogs, cats, groundhogs and foxes.

Other facts from Orange County Animal Services:
  • Rabies can be transmitted through secondary exposure as well, so do not touch your animal without gloves if it has had any possible exposure to a rabies vector.
  • It is a law in North Carolina that dogs, cats and ferrets older than four months must have a current and valid rabies vaccination at all times.
  • Pets with current rabies vaccinations that may have been exposed to rabies must be revaccinated or they will be treated as unvaccinated pets.
  • If a rabies suspect is alive, do not attempt to capture the animal. Keep visual contact with the animal until Animal Control arrives.
  • If you discover a bat inside your house, be sure not to release it, but do remove yourself and any animals from the area.
  • Always call Animal Control immediately if you find a bat in your home even if there is no evidence of a bite.

For more information, please call Orange County Animal Services at 919-942-7387.
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