Stock photo: Nurse gives rabies shot
Guilford Co., NC -- The Guilford County Health Department officials say the number of animal rabies cases has increased to 11 in the county so far this year.
The number was adjusted on July 20th after a raccoon found on Forest Hill Drive in Greensboro tested positive for the rabies virus.
The department is reminding pet owners to vaccinate their dogs, cats and ferrets and be cautious themselves because there's no cure for rabies and it's deadly.
The Center for Disease Control points out, though rabies deaths have decreased dramatically from an average of 100 to just a couple each year, prevention is still highly recommended.
Georgia Frierson, a Greensboro woman, learned that the hard way when she tried to rescue a stray cat last month.
She's a pet owner and says when she saw the cat stranded in the middle of Battleground Avenue in Greensboro, her first instinct was to run and save it.
"I just thought it's a tiny kitten that needed my help," she said. "I went to pick it up, and it just turned its head and bit me on the thumb. It went all the way through my nail and into the pad of my thumb."
That was Sandy Ellington with the county's health department says her offices has been focused on education to keep infection/exposure rates down.
She also explains that the increased number of cases this year may be due to the fact that animals - wild or stray - are looking for food and it's easy to come in contact with them.
"Anytime you have any rabies cases [it's] alarming. But compared to last year, we're a little bit higher," Ellington said.
Fortunately for Georgia, she didn't get the virus but she still had to get nine shots to protect herself.
"It hurt a lot and it makes you feel like you have the flu, kind of, and just an achy feeling,' she said.
Georgia's advice? If you see a stray animal, don't be a hero. Instead, call animal control.
Guilford County is not the only one seeing rabies cases this year. Surrounding counties also had several cases as well - though not as high as in Guilford county.
The health department wants to remind you to get all your pets - dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated, even if they only stay inside.
It's the state law; you can be fined if you don't.
You can get that done at the rabies clinic in a few weeks. It will be at the Guilford County Animal Shelter on August 11.
If you miss that, here are three more chances to get your pets vaccinated at a low cost:
Saturday, August 25, 2012, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Fire District #28, 6619 NC 61 North, Gibsonville, NC 27249
Saturday, September 29, 2012, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Pleasant Garden Town Hall, 4920 Alliance Church Road, Pleasant Garden, NC 27313
Saturday, October 6, 2012, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Oak Ridge Town Park, 6231 Lisa Drive, Oak Ridge, NC 27310
WFMY News 2