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27 cases of rabies troubling

POSTED: July 22, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Hall County’s 27th rabies case was confirmed on Wednesday after a raccoon was killed by a dog in North Hall.

On Sunday, the dead raccoon was found in the area of Hubert Stephens Road. By Wednesday, the Georgia Public Health Lab in Decatur confirmed that the raccoon tested positive for rabies.

This year, the county has experienced an unusually high number of confirmed rabies cases, but Wednesday’s notification marked the first confirmed rabies case in three weeks, said Mike Ledford, director of Gainesville-Hall Animal Control.

"We were going pretty steady, with about one a week for a while," Ledford said. "The lull (in positive cases) has been a welcome thing."

Ledford said rabies cases usually spike in the warmer months and level off with the temperature.

Through conversations with the state lab he has learned that other areas along the border of Georgia and Tennessee are also experiencing higher-than-normal rabies cases this year.

Ledford said that he hopes that the most recent lull in positive cases may be a sign that rabies cases have peaked for the year.

"Hopefully, we’re on the down slope."

This year, confirmed cases have been only in wild animals, mostly raccoons and foxes. But Ledford said county residents can protect their animals by participating in upcoming rabies clinics.

Next month, the Humane Society of Hall County will hold a series of rabies clinics. On Aug. 9 and Aug. 23, residents can get $10 rabies shots for their pets from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The Aug. 9 event also will offer flea dips for $5 per animal and will be held at the Hall County Animal Shelter, 845 W. Ridge Road, Gainesville.

The Humane Society cannot dip cats, and pets must be at least 3 months old for rabies inoculations.

The Aug. 23 clinic will be held in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Oakwood, 3875 Mundy Mill Road.

For more information, call 770-532-6617 or e-mail gwentrimmer@humanesocietyhallcounty.com.




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