Beth Thomas, the office manager for the Lincoln Veterinarian Clinic, said a raccoon that was acting aggressively was shot and killed by a resident who lives near the high school on U.S. 77.
She said the raccoon tested positive for rabies.
Thomas said this was the fifth raccoon since May of last year that has tested positive for rabies in Lincoln.
She said in the latest case, the raccoon attacked and killed a kitten Saturday night. The raccoon returned to the residence Sunday night and was acting strangely. The wild animal began to growl at a family member before it was shot and killed.
This was the second raccoon to test positive in recent days. A raccoon also tested positive for rabies in the Leeds/Moody area of St. Clair County.
Dr. James Ivey, a veterinarian at Coosa Valley Animal Clinic in Sylacauga and the rabies control officer for Talladega County, said people need to be especially careful around wild animals that are acting strangely or appear to have no fear of humans or other animals.
He said residents need to report strange acting animals to law enforcement immediately and stay clear of the animal.
Ivey said it is also important that people get their pets rabies vaccinations for protection. Rabies vaccinations are good for at least one year, and some vaccines are available that protect pets for three years.
“It’s not only for your pet, but for you and your family’s protection,” Ivey said. “We need to be vaccinating more dogs and cats.”
He said rabies vaccinations do not cost much, and it only takes a few minutes for an animal to be vaccinated.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, rabies is a preventable disease caused by a virus that affects the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord.
Rabies is transmitted from animal to animal and from animal to human.
Symptoms will not develop right away, but once symptoms appear, rabies is considered fatal.
According to the ADPH, its state laboratories confirmed 55 cases of rabies in 2012, which does not include results of testing performed by the USDA Wildlife Service.
Of the 2012 cases in Alabama, 34 raccoons, 10 bats, four cats, four dogs, two foxes and one cow tested positive for rabies.
According to the ADPH, the last known human case of rabies in Alabama was in 1994.
Ivey said it is best to notify law enforcement, who can dispatch an animal control officer if a wild animal is acting strangely and appears unexpectedly at your residence.
If you find a dead animal and suspect rabies, it is best to call authorities or the local health department, game warden or your local veterinarian for guidance.
Ivey said it is important that you or your animals are not exposed to an animal infected with rabies.
He said if you have to handle the animal, wear rubber gloves for protection and put the dead animal in double plastic bags before transporting the carcass.
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