CUMMING, Ga. — A raccoon captured in Cumming tested positive for rabies, officials confirmed.
The raccoon was found in the area of Hickory Bluff Drive and was captured Thursday, according to Forsyth County officials.
Forsyth County Animal Services said the animal was reported to them by a resident, prompting a quick response.
“The resident that reported the rabid animal did a great job of notifying us of the possibly rabid raccoon,” Forsyth County Animal Services Supervisor Haley Brown said. “The prompt report of the animal allowed for Animal Services to respond quickly and capture it for testing.”
Officials said people who came into contact with the raccoon were referred to healthcare providers and were treated for any potential exposure.
According to the county, rabies can be transmitted to domestic animals and humans only via bite wounds, open cuts in the skin, or onto mucous membranes, like a person’s or animal’s eyes or mouth.
Typically, rabies infections are transmitted through the saliva of infected mammals, entering the central nervous system and causing brain inflammation, which is “almost always fatal,” according to the county.
“Encounters between wild animals and domestic pets, including some that involved people, have increased recently, so we encourage all residents to have their pets vaccinated against the Rabies Virus and be educated on what to do if they encounter a potentially rabid animal,” Brown said.
In the United States, the most common carriers of the rabies virus are raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes and bats.
Officials said to report a wild, or domesticated, animal acting strangely, avoid the animal and call Forsyth County Animal Services at 770-781-2138. If it is after business hours, contact the Forsyth County 911 Center’s after-hours line at 770-781-3087.
To report an animal bite, immediately call the Georgia Poison Control Center helpline at 1-800-222-1222 for medical instructions.