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An unvaccinated Boxer belonging to a family on Damascus Road in Pickens County, GA tested positive for rabies on December 6. As a result, environmental health officials had to recommend post rabies exposure treatment to people who most recently handled the dog before it was euthanized on December 5.

Almost thirty people were evaluated for rabies exposure in this case because the dog had been present during a Thanksgiving family gathering. There was no indication of exposure to those persons; however, six other people, including two veterinary technicians and four family members, were considered potentially exposed. Five have begun post-exposure rabies treatments, but one family member has declined to undergo post-exposure preventive treatments.

The potential for rabies exposure to humans in this case is due to contact with the dog’s saliva, not by bites.

Jan Stephens of Pickens County Environmental Health said the specific source of rabies infection is not known, but it is likely that the dog was infected with the virus through the bite of a wild animal such as a raccoon, skunk, bobcat, or coyote.

Ms. Stephens and members of the Pickens County Health Department talked to area residents and posted notices to alert the public to have their dogs and cats vaccinated and to report any bites or suspicious animals.

For more information regarding rabies and its prevention, call the Pickens County Environmental Health office at (706) 253-0900 or log onto CDC’s website at