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Page updated Sep 28, 2009 5:37 PM

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Alexandria Health Department Reminds Public to Be Aware About Rabies Risks

Rabies Awareness Week is September 28 - October 2

September 28, 2009 

News Highlights

  • A sick raccoon recently collected in the City of Alexandria, has tested positive for rabies.
  • No human exposure occurred in this case; however, the Alexandria Health Department reminds the public to avoid interactions with wild animals and have their pets vaccinated against rabies.

More Information

  • Contact the Alexandria Health Department at 703.838.4400 ext. 327, or the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Animal Control Division, at 703.838.4774.

A sick raccoon, recently collected in the vicinity of East Windsor Street and East Howell Street in the City of Alexandria, has tested positive for rabies. While no known human exposure occurred in this case, the Alexandria Health Department is taking steps to remind the public to avoid close interactions with wild animals in the City and to have their pet dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated against rabies.

Rabies Awareness Week is September 28 – October 2 and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) reminds City residents of the importance of rabies prevention. Residents should note that rabies is a fatal disease and is most often transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or when saliva comes into contact with an open wound or mucous membrane (such as nose or mouth).

The Health Department recommends residents take the following steps to protect themselves against rabies exposure:

  • Do not feed stray animals.  Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks.  Feed your pets indoors and do not let them wander.
  • Make sure pets are vaccinated against rabies and their shots are up to date. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Keep wild animals out of homes by capping chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, cellars and porches.  Ensure trash cans have tight fitting lids.
  • Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.
  • Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals.
  • If a bat is found indoors and may have had contact with someone, do not release it. Please call the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Animal Control Division (703.838.4774), to determine if the animal should be picked up and tested for rabies.

For more information, contact Tim McGonegal, Enviromental Health Biologist, Alexandria Health Department, at  703.838.4400, ext. 327.