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Township Issues Rabies Warning

Stay away from wild animals like this raccoon, officials warn.

Stay away from wild animals like this raccoon, township and Montgomery County officials warn.

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – A raccoon found in the 700 block of “Gabrielle” Court tested positive for rabies last Tuesday (May 5, 2009), the township is reporting on its website, and it is advising that anyone recently scratched or bitten by any raccoon receive rabies treatments.

“Gabrielle,” it’s assumed, is actually “Gabriel” Court, misspelled only in the haste of getting out important news. Gabriel Court is a cul-de-sac on the west side of North Adams Street, about equidistant between Buchert Road and the Ringing Hill Fire Station. The area is steeply hilly and also heavily wooded.

Rabies is an acute encephalitis (infection of the brain) caused by a virus that usually is transmitted through a bite, according to the University of Iowa’s Hygenic Laboratory. The virus affects the central nervous system of mammals and, once in the brain, usually kills its victims.

Gabriel Court at North Adams Street.

Gabriel Ct. at North Adams St.

Anyone who had contact with a raccoon “or any other stray or wild animal,” or was exposed to a raccoon’s saliva, was directed by the township’s warning to immediately call the Montgomery County (PA) Health Department‘s Division of Communicable Disease Control at 610-278-5117.

It could not immediately be determined under what circumstances the rabid animal had been discovered, or if it was suspected to have had any contact with persons living in the area or their pets.

The Health Department’s website offers these recommended precautions to avoid contracting rabies:

  • Do not feed, befriend, handle or try to make pets of wild animals or stray domestic animals.
  • Vaccinate domestic dogs, cats and selected livestock, according to your veterinarian’s recommendations.
  • Obey animal control ordinances, particularly not allowing domestic animals to run at large.
  • If bitten by an animal, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention from a doctor or hospital emergency room.
  • After receiving appropriate medical care, contact the Montgomery County Health Department so an epidemiological investigation can be initiated to determine whether post-exposure rabies injections are required.

Coincidentally, the county has scheduled four clinics next month (June 2009) at which county residents can have their pets vaccinated with a 3-year shot that should help prevent them from contracting the disease. The clinics closest to Sanatoga will be held June 13 (2009; Saturday) from 9-11 a.m. at Collegeville Community Park, Fourth and Park Avenue, Collegeville PA; and June 20 (2009; Saturday) at the Harleysville Senior Center, 312 Alumni Ave., Harleysville PA. Dogs, cats and ferrets all will be immunized at a cost of $10 per shot.

Photo by Wayne Langley via StockXchng

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