A raccoon has tested positive for animal rabies, and public health officials are reminding Polk County residents about the potential dangers of rabies and urging them to make sure their pets are vaccinated against the potentially deadly disease.

The raccoon was found near Peek’s Park in Cedartown, but officials emphasize animal rabies can be found throughout the county. This is the first confirmed animal rabies cases in Polk County for 2017.  Polk County had nine animal rabies case in 2016, one in 2015, three in 2014, and none in 2013.

“Rabies is regularly found in Polk County and always circulating in our wild animal population,” says the Polk County Health Department’s Environmental Health Manager Kathy Couey-Miller.  “Getting your pet vaccinated against rabies is the single best way to protect your pet from rabies.  It’s important to do it for their protection, for our protection and because it’s state law.”

Couey-Miller cautioned that wild, stray and unvaccinated animals may be infected with rabies and emphasized residents should take precautions to protect themselves, their families and their pets.  “Reducing the risk of rabies in domestic animals and limiting human contact with wild animals are two measures central to the prevention of human rabies,” explained Couey-Miller.

Polk County residents can contact the Polk County Health Department’s Environmental Health Office in Cedartown at 770-749-2253 for additional information or with any questions or concerns.