Rabies reports from Alabama, Maine, New Jersey (2), Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

American Black Panther (typically a melanistic color variant of several different large cats).

Alabama 12/04/10 abc3340.com: An Alabama man says he’s recovering after being attacked by a panther near his Marshall County home.  Frank Harmes says he was walking his dog in a cove behind his home near Morgan City when he heard something behind him and turned to see a black panther.  Harmes says he moved to try to scare the panther away, but instead it attacked and clawed his leg. He says he stabbed the animal twice with a knife and it ran away.  Residents of the area have reported seeing panthers in the past, saying they sometimes come out looking for food.  Harmes says he will undergo a series of rabies shots because of the attack.

Maine 12/03/10 wcsh6.com: by Cindy Williams – Gorham – There has been in resurgence of rabies cases in raccoons in southern Maine in recent years, and state health officials say they continue to see the disease circulate.  Most of us know to keep our distance from wild animals, what if they come after you in your own yard?   It’s happened again, this time in Gorham.   George Bragg saw a big raccoon come running up his driveway after his Maltese Poodle Max. The raccoon latched on to the dog’s side and wouldn’t let go until Bragg hit it repeatedly with a bottle. But the raccoon didn’t’ stop there. A few hours later it attacked a man delivering lumber to Bragg’s house. That man killed the animal with a pipe. Its remains have been sent to Augusta to determine if the raccoon was indeed rabid.  Dr. Dora Mills with the Centers for Disease Control says everyone should have their pets vaccinated and keep those shots up to date. Max’s were. Here’s in quarantine and on antibiotics, but the vet says he’ll be fine.   Mills also says stay away from wildlife, including squirrels, which can also be rabid. And if you get bitten, see a doctor immediately.

New Jersey 12/03/10 njtoday.net: A case of rabies in a raccoon within Edison Township was confirmed by the New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services Laboratory today. This is the third confirmed case of rabies in Edison for 2010.  This raccoon appeared sick and was reported by a resident of Winthrop Road on Wednesday, Dec. 1. The raccoon was submitted to the NJ State Rabies Laboratory by the Edison Municipal Animal Shelter.

New Jersey 12/03/10 njtoday.net: Middlesex County Public Health Department is reporting that a raccoon tested positive for rabies in Monroe Township, in the vicinity of Applegarth Road and Old Church Road.  This is the 17th rabid animal reported within Middlesex County for 2010 and the second rabid animal reported in the municipality of Monroe. A hunter’s dog fought with a raccoon, which was aggressive and not afraid of humans or animals.  The hunter put down the raccoon and then transported it to his local veterinarian’s office. The raccoon was subsequently sent to the New Jersey State Department of Health Laboratory for testing.  It was reported Wednesday that the animal tested positive for rabies.

Pennsylvania 12/02/10 PA Dept of Health: Harrisburg – Three skunks found in Cumberland County during the week of Nov. 29 tested positive for rabies, the Department of Health today confirmed.  One of the skunks was seen on both Yale Avenue and Brahmar Road in Camp Hill. The other two skunks were found in Lemoyne on Bosler Avenue and Herman Avenue.  The department urges anyone who may have been bitten or exposed to saliva, fluids or tissue from these skunks to contact the Cumberland County State Health Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at 717-243-5151. Residents can also call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) at any time.

Anyone with a pet that may have come in contact with a skunk should contact a veterinarian for information about how to protect the animal as well as family members.

Touching or handling a potentially rabid animal is not considered an exposure, unless you have been bitten, scratched or had saliva, nervous system fluid or tissue enter an open wound. Also, residents should be aware that exposure can occur if they had contact with the rabid animal’s mucous membranes by touching the animal’s eye, mouth or nose. Under these circumstances, individuals should seek immediate medical attention.  The department also reminds all residents to avoid contact with wild animals of any kind, as it can be difficult to tell whether or not the animal is rabid. All animals that can be vaccinated – cats, dogs and ferrets – should be given the vaccine to protect them in case they are ever exposed to a rabid animal.  For more information, visit www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).

Texas 12/03/10 ktre.com: City of Lufkin Animal Control personnel have confirmed that a skunk found deceased in a Lufkin neighborhood was infected with rabies.  On Saturday, November 27, 2010, a skunk entered into the fenced yard of a residence located in the 1200 block of Reen Drive in Lufkin.  When the resident heard her dogs barking and saw the dogs chasing the skunk through the yard, she quickly secured them inside of the house. The following day, the deceased skunk was found in the yard.  Although the dogs’ rabies vaccines are current and the resident believes no physical contact occurred between the dogs and the skunk, the dogs received a booster vaccine following the incident.  City of Lufkin Animal Control personnel retrieved the skunk and testing at the Department of State Health Services Laboratory in Austin found the skunk to be infected with rabies.  According to Rhonda McLendon, Director of City of Lufkin Animal Control, Angelina County typically sees two to three rabies cases each year but between 2004 and 2009, all cases have involved bats.  Director McLendon stated; “this is the first Angelina County skunk to test positive for rabies since 2003, when we had fourteen rabies-positive skunk cases”.  

Virginia 12/04/10 dailypress.com: by Allison T. Williams – James City County – A fox in the vicinity of the 4800 block of Hickory Sign Post Road tested positive for rabies, according to the Peninsula Health District.  Anyone who might have been exposed to a fox by bite, scratch or contact with saliva by open wound or eyes, nose or mouth is asked to contact the health department at 253-4813. After hours, call animal control at 253-1800.

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