NORTH GEORGIA HEALTH DISTRICT

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    NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Potential Rabies Alert

Health officials warn: Avoid all unfamiliar animals

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Canton, GA – A man was bitten by a raccoon on Wednesday, June 2nd while biking on the Blankets Creek Mountain Bike Trail on Sixes Road in Canton. This incident is not related to the raccoon attack that occurred earlier this week in Woodstock, even though both Canton and Woodstock are in Cherokee County, Georgia. 

The bicyclist was in the Dwelling Loop section of the trail at about 4 PM on Wednesday when he stopped to feed a raccoon he thought was injured. The raccoon bit down on the bicyclist’s hand, but because the man wore bike gloves, there was no puncture to his skin or nails. Emergency room attendants, who later examined the man at Northside Cherokee Hospital, determined no further treatment was needed. 

The raccoon was not submitted for testing, so whether the animal was infected with rabies is unknown.

Cherokee County Environmental Health officials contacted the bicyclist to recommend that he call Georgia Poison Control for any further guidance he may need, and environmental health will work with trail maintenance to have warning signs placed in the area.

Health officials warn the public to avoid all unfamiliar animals, especially those in the wild, and pet owners should maintain rabies vaccinations in their pets. If a pet receives an initial one-year vaccine, it can receive a three-year rabies vaccination on the following year.

Rabies is prevalent in wild animals such as raccoons and skunks but can be found in coyotes, foxes, bats, bobcats, and other wild carnivores. Rodents and opossums are rarely found with rabies, but a bite from any wild mammal should cause concern and be reported to a healthcare provider and the local environmental health office. 

Children should be warned to avoid contact with wild mammals and any stray dog or cat, and they should report any contact with these animals to an adult right away.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.