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Public health officials stress rabies awareness during spring
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According to officials from the department of public health, when getting back out into the great outdoors members of the public should be wary of wild animals and take precautions to avoid rabid animals.

As temperatures rise and weather becomes more enjoyable, it is only natural that people will start venturing back out into the parks, trails and greenspace of Forsyth County. 

According to officials from the department of public health, when getting back out into the great outdoors members of the public should be wary of wild animals and take precautions to avoid rabid animals.

The release stated that rabies is, “a viral infection transmitted in the saliva of infected mammals. The virus enters the central nervous system of the host causing an inflammation of the brain that is almost always fatal.” 

Rabies is transmitted when an infected animal bites another person or animal, or when the virus is introduced to open cuts or mucous membranes like the eyes and mouth, the release stated. 

The most common wild animals that carry rabies, according to the release, are raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes and bats. 

Symptoms of rabies in animals include lethargy, fever, vomiting and anorexia. Signs progress within days to cerebral dysfunction, weakness, paralysis, seizures, difficulty breathing and aggression.

“Although the occurrence of rabies among humans has declined noticeably over the years, the disease continues among wild animals. Incidences of animal rabies in our area are common and residents should take precautions to protect themselves and their pets,” stated the release. 

The release stated that people can reduce their risk of contracting rabies by avoiding contact with unfamiliar dogs, cats, and wild animals, and maintaining up to date rabies vaccinations on all pets. 

For more information on rabies, the release stated that people can visit the Georgia department of health online at dph.georgia.gov/rabies.