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2003 News from Mecklenburg County

October 31, 2003


Charlotte, NC - All next week, pet owners will have the opportunity to get their animals' rabies shots up-to-date.  These vaccinations will never be cheaper or more convenient to get.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department and local veterinarians are teaming-up to offer low-cost rabies vaccinations for the second time this year.  The first Rabies Vaccination Week was held in March.  This additional opportunity was offered to make the rabies vaccination process as easy and affordable as possible.

Monday through Saturday (November 3 - 8), 53 local veterinarians will participate in this second Rabies Vaccination Week of 2003, by offering rabies shots for just $7.50.  Pet owners are asked to call the veterinarian's office first to make an appointment.

Environmental Epidemiology Specialist Al Piercy handles rabies and animal bite investigations for the Mecklenburg County Health Department.  Piercy had predicted a busy season after a number of rabid animals had been collected early in the year.

"The rabies vaccination is protection not just for your pet, but for everyone else in your home," adds Piercy.

At the end of September, 41 animals had tested positive for rabies.  That's more than twice the five-year average.  In all of 2002 there were 27 cases.

Rabies can infect any mammal. In North Carolina it is most common in raccoons, skunks, and foxes, and has also been found in dogs, cats, horses, cattle, bats, and other animals. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of animals found to have rabies in North Carolina.

The virus is transmitted through contact with the saliva or nervous tissue of an infectious animal--usually through a bite. If an exposed person or animal is not treated quickly, the virus may infect the person or animal and kill them.

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