A Riceboro couple is undergoing preventive treatment for rabies after both were bitten by the family dog which has tested positive for the virus.According to the Coastal Health District, the German shepherd was not up-to-date on its rabies vaccination. Liberty County Environmental Health officials remind residents to get all pets vaccinated. It’s the law and not only protects the pet but also family members.
The public health officials did not identify the family.
Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. Symptoms in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.
The Liberty County Health Department offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:
• Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
• Make sure your pets are properly immunized. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines by four months of age, followed by a booster shot a year later, and another one every one or three years, depending on the type of vaccine.
• Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or pet food out at night.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals. Call animal control or a licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children to not handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and call Liberty County Animal Control at 876-9191 and the Liberty County Health Department Environmental Health Division at 368-5520.