Columbia County Animal Services sent a picture of the dog that they say contracted rabies. (Oct. 24, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Oct. 24, 2011
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. -- Health officials are warning residents who may have been in contact with a rabid dog.
Emergency Management Services learned of the infection after a resident living on Bakers Place Lane was bit by a black lab.
A school bus hit the dog Monday. They say the 2-year-old male dog bit a resident who tried to help it. Officials had to put the dog down and learned of the infection after sending the dog's body to a lab for testing.
Pam Tucker with Emergency Management says it's very unusual for a dog to become infected with rabies.
"We've got people that have worked here 35 years in public health and in animal services and we don't remember a case with a dog," she said.
At least half a dozen people, including children, are being treated for rabies as a precaution. Tucker worries other residents in Bakers Place Lane area of Columbia County may be at risk, too.
"Now the concern is who else may have petted or been around the black lab," Tucker said.
Health officials say the 2-year-old male lab most likely contracted the disease from another animal.
John Carroll says he sees a lot of wildlife from his porch on Baker Place Lane.
"I've had deer come up in the yard and possums and rabbits," Carroll said. "I don't have any pets or children but my grandchildren come around and i like to know that they're protected."
If you think that you may have come in contact with the dog, call health officials immediately at (706) 868-3330.
Investigators are still looking into whether to charge the owner of the dog with not having his pet vaccinated.
Early signs of rabies include:
Worldwide, roughly 97 percent of rabies cases come from dog bites. In the United States, animal control and vaccination programs have effectively eliminated domestic dogs as reservoirs of rabies.
You can get your pet vaccinated for $5 on Saturday at the Heartsong Spray Neuter Clinic rabies clinic at Tractor Supply in Columbia County from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You do not need an appointment.