Rabies a Threat To Humans, Pets

For many years, rabies was a threat that seemed remote to many residents of our area. But, like so many of the hazards nature throws at us, it has always been present.

Rabies may be making a comeback.

A week ago, local health officials revealed that a raccoon found in the Woodsdale/Edgwood neighborhood of Wheeling tested positive for rabies. Fortunately, it appears no domestic animals or humans had been bitten by the creature.

It was the first confirmed case of rabies in Ohio County this year.

Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department Administrator Howard Gamble used the case to remind area residents — not just in Ohio County — of the need to take precautions against rabies:

n First, of course, avoid contact with wild animals — or domestic ones that behave aggressively. Do not leave food outside for either pets or other animals.

n Second, understand that rabies can be contracted from an infected animal even if it does not bite.

n Third, ensure your pets’ vaccinations are up to date. If in doubt, check with your veterinarian.

n Finally, if you believe there is a possibility you have come in contact, directly or indirectly, with a rabid animal, check with your doctor immediately.