Ra­bies Case Con­firmed in High Point

The Covington News - - SPORTS -

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.

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