January 11, 2006
There is a new healthwatch warning tonight as the number of potential rabies exposures have gone up in our area.
Health officials from the Thomas Jefferson Health District say most of the incidents deal with pets--mainly cats and dogs--coming in contact with a potentially infected wild animal, such as a raccoon. Officials are encouraging pet owners to make sure their pets' vaccinations are up-to-date.
"It's very serious, and there's 350-500 cases--animal cases--of rabies every year in Virginia. So there's definitely a lot of population out there that could potentially put you or your family at risk, mainly through your pet," said Roy Crewz, with the Thomas Jefferson Health District.
The last human case of rabies in our area was in 2003, which was deadly. Last year, there were nine confirmed animal cases of rabies.