COOSA COUNTY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) recently confirmed a case of animal rabies tested from a fox near the Goodwater community in Coosa County. Rabies targets the central nervous system of all mammals, including humans, and is fatal.

The virus is transmitted by saliva. In general, rabies exposure requires direct contact with infected saliva, usually through a bite or a scratch, but less common contact exposures with mucous membranes (eyes, nose and mouth) should be considered as potential exposures.

“Rabies prevention is multifaceted; it involves people taking precautions with wildlife, making sure their pets are current on rabies vaccinations, and always reporting an animal bite or other exposure to their medical provider or the health department,” said State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Dee W. Jones.

Area residents are advised to take the following precautions to avoid possible exposure to rabies:

*   Do not allow pets to run loose; confine them within a fenced-in area or with a leash.
*   Do not leave uneaten pet food or scraps near your residence.
*   Do not illegally feed or keep wildlife as pets.
*   Do not go near wildlife or domestic animals that are acting in a strange or unusual manner.
*   Caution children not to go near any stray or wild animal, regardless of its behavior.
*   Advise children to tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by any animal.
*   A person who is bitten or scratched by an animal should wash wounds immediately with mild soap and water, apply first aid, and seek medical attention or contact the county health department immediately.

Alabama state law requires dogs, cats and ferrets twelve weeks of age and older be current with rabies vaccination. Rabies vaccines are also available for horses and other livestock if recommended by a veterinarian. Vaccinating animals reduces the risk of rabies infection should an exposure occur, thus vaccinations helps protect animals, as well as their owners and caretakers.

For more information about rabies and prevention, please contact your county health department. You may also call the Alabama Department of Public Health at 1-800-338-8374 or (334) 206-5971 or visit adph.org.

Tom Roberts for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2016, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Michael Brannon is a former news and sports anchor from Mobile, Ala. and serves as Director of Business Development, Manager of Digital Projects and Strategy, and Managing Editor of SylacaugaNews.com.