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raccoon2Blue Ridge (GA) – The third case of rabies this year in Fannin County, Georgia – and the second in a raccoon – has been confirmed by the Georgia Public Health Laboratory, according to Fannin County Environmental Health officials.

Shannon Bradburn, local environmental health specialist, said a resident at a home about five miles south of Blue Ridge on Aska Road near Scenic Hollow Road, heard a commotion outside the home at approximately 11 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14. The resident investigated the noise and found a raccoon growling at two kittens that live on the property, so the resident shot and killed it.

The raccoon was prepared for shipment and sent to the state laboratory on Wednesday. Late Thursday afternoon, local environmental health officials received the report that the test results were positive for rabies.

Bradburn stated, “Our office contacted the homeowners, and though it seemed unlikely the young kittens had actually come into contact with the raccoon, they had not yet received their initial rabies vaccinations, so the owners decided to maintain both animals in strict double-penned enclosures.”

Instructions for constructing these enclosures were provided to the homeowners through a link on the North Georgia Health District’s website at

“We will be working with the residents over the next few days in ensuring that the pens are built to required specifications,” said Bradburn, “and we will be monitoring both animals over the next six months, which is the required period for quarantine.”

There was no human exposure, and though the home where the incident occurred is on a large tract of private land that is surrounded by U.S. Forest Service property and far away from other residents, local environmental health officials went to the nearest homes today to provide alert notifications and rabies informational materials.

The first two incidents in Fannin County this year in which rabies was confirmed involved a fox in McCaysville on March 6 and a raccoon in Morganton on April 4. In both incidents, unvaccinated dogs that were exposed to the infected animals were euthanized.

“The best way to prevent the consequences of rabies is to make sure your pets are vaccinated against the deadly disease,” said Bradburn, “and never approach an unfamiliar animal, wild or tame, because chances are it could be infected.”

For more information about rabies and rabies prevention, contact the Fannin County Environmental Health office at (706) 632-3024 or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website at