Pittsylvania-Danville Health District reports rabies concern

Southside Virginia News

(Image: Courtesy MGN Online)

DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District is reminding the public to avoid contact with bats, feral cats, stray dogs and wild animals following an incident of a dog biting a woman on Jefferson Street in Danville.

On Dec. 29, 2021, a dog was reported to have bitten a woman in the vicinity of 649 Jefferson Street. The dog is described as a black and white pit bull mix. It is unknown if the dog has rabies, and as of Friday, Jan. 7, the dog has not been found and confined.

The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District asks anyone who may have come into contact with or seen a dog matching its description in the vicinity of 649 Jefferson Street to call the health department at 434-766-9828.

Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. While rabies is preventable in cats, dogs, ferrets, and some livestock with a rabies vaccination, it can kill any mammal or human that gets sick from it.

This virus is found mainly in the saliva or brain tissue of rabid animals. It is transmitted through a bite or by getting saliva or brain tissue in a wound or in the eye or mouth.

Virginia law requires that all dogs and cats four months of age and older be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Vaccinations must be kept current.

The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District offers these tips for avoiding the exposure to rabies:

  • 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 your pets are vaccinated against rabies and their shots are up-to-date. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.
  • Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals.
  • 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.
  • If you observe any stray animals in the area, contact the Danville Animal Control for assistance at 434-799-5111. Please do not try to trap or handle stray or wild animals.
  • If you are bitten by a wild or stray animal, do not panic. Wash the wound(s) thoroughly with warm soapy water and contact animal control, your doctor, or the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District for further recommendations.

For more information about rabies, you can visit the Virginia Department of Health website or call the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District at 434-766-9828.

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