Rabies cases increase in Jackson Co. - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Rabies cases increase in Jackson Co.

Several rabid animals have been found in the county. (Source: WAFF) Several rabid animals have been found in the county. (Source: WAFF)

Public health officials are concerned after Jackson County health officials note an increase in the number of rabies cases this year.

So far this year, five cases have been reported and some infected animals have been discovered in neighborhoods and at public locations.

Health records at Marshall, Jackson, and DeKalb Counties, show that in 2012 there were two cases in DeKalb County. Other than that, state health officials said there have not been any since 2010, and that's what has health officials so concerned.

Public health officials in Jackson County said a rabid racoon was found near the tennis courts in the city of Scottsboro. Rabid racoons have also been found in the Dolberry Hollow region of Pikeville and just outside of Gurley.

A rabid fox was found in the River Ridge community between Scottsboro and Hollywood, and a dog with rabies was found just outside of Stevenson in the Fabious community.

Local health officials are not sure what's causing a higher outbreak this year.

"It could be people are getting more lax on the rabies vaccinations for their dogs and cats," said public health environmentalist Nancy Webb. "That could be one thing, but you know it's very important to have those dogs and cats vaccinated."

Webb urges people to get their pets vaccinated and to keep a barrier between yourself and wild animals.

"If the rabies virus comes in contact with a break in the skin, that is considered an exposure. A lot of people think, 'Well, it didn't bite me,' but if it licked you and there is a scratch or break in the skin, it is still considered an exposure," she said.

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