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Pittsylvania County Health Department takes quick proactive, reactive approach to rabies cases

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:37:28 AM EST   Updated On: Aug 28 2013 07:15:01 PM EDT

Health leaders are warning pet owners about the dangers of rabies, and how easy it is to get into you home.


Health leaders are warning pet owners about the dangers of rabies, and how easy it is to get into you home.

A bite can happen at any time of day, and can infect any animal.

This year in Virginia a bear, cow, horses, even beavers tested positive for rabies. Two cases were reported in Pittsylvania County before August.

"Just this week two more cases were confirmed in Pittsylvania County, one in Gretna, and another in Ringgold. Both in neighborhoods with families that have pets.

"We as Americans take it for granted," said Dan Richardson, the Environmental Health Manger with the Danville and Pittsylvania County health departments.

"We don't think of it because you rarely hear an American dying of rabies," Richardson said. "For all intense and purposes, it's still fatal once you contract it."

He says rabies is more serious and more frequent than you think.

"Rabies is out there. It's still out there, it's still epidemic in skunks and raccoons, and it poses a significant public health risk,"

The department lets not only media, but also local and state leaders know about every confirmed rabid animal in Pittsylvania County. It's the only county in our region that puts out regular notices when animals test positive.

Richardson and his team make it clear keep your pets vaccinated and stay away from wild animals.

"It's transmitted by a bite. So an animal that that becomes vicious will then go around snapping at the air or flies for anything and if it can find another animal to bite, that's what it's going to do," Richardson said.

He also says don't be afraid to call if you think your pet has been effected. They want to help.

There have been 331 reported cases of rabies in Virginia just this year.

Fairfax County has the most animals test positive for the disease and in our are Roanoke City has the most reported cases so far this year.

To see the full list and where your hometown ranks, click here to go to the Health Department's recent reports.