Rabies Case Confirmed in High Point
The first case of rabies in Newton County since 1980 was confirmed by state health officials in a raccoon that attacked three dogs in the High Point Forest subdivision last month.
The raccoon was shot and killed by Randy Aiken when he discovered the animal fighting with his three dogs around 9 AM on Saturday, May 26th. According to his wife, Freda, Aiken thought his dogs were fighting with another dog until he saw the raccoon.
After killing the animal, she said they took it to veterinarian Billy McCart who removed the head. Since it was Memorial Day weekend, it was Tuesday before McCart could send it to the state lab for testing. Confirmation that the animal was rabid came the following day.
Mrs. Aiken said that her husband had constructed three pens for the dogs for the quarantine period that would last for a period of six months to a year.
Although the incident took place two weeks ago, health department officials did not make it public until contacted Wednesday by The Covington News.
Newton County Sanitarian Larry Martin said that he was concerned about public response to the information, saying that some people would kill any raccoon they saw and have it tested by the state for rabies.
Under a policy adopted by the state public health department last July, only in cases where there has been confirmed exposure to possible rabies will a test be administered. Because of the cost involved, approximately $40 per test, the state has discontinued testing animals killed and sent them simply because rabies has been reported in the area.