Local public health officials are asking to hear from anyone who may have been bitten by a rabid beaver in an incident Wednesday, July 20, at an Armuchee Creek swimming hole in north Floyd County. According to reports, an individual was bitten or scratched attempting to keep the beaver from attacking another person floating nearby. The individual killed the beaver which subsequently tested positive for rabies at the state lab.

“Animal rabies is endemic in our northwest Georgia animal population,” says Shane Hendrix, environmental health manager for the Floyd County Health Department, “and aggressive behavior is characteristic of a rabid animal but identifying rabies in a local beaver is extremely unusual.” 

Hendrix asks anyone who was in the vicinity of the incident and was bitten or scratched or believes they may have been bitten or scratched  to call 706-295-6651 for advice and possible treatment.

Understanding your rabies risk and knowing what to do after contact with animals can save lives. Any mammal can get rabies, but the most commonly affected animals in Northwest Georgia are raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes  —  so the best way to avoid rabies is to stay away from wildlife. Leave all wildlife alone, including injured animals. If you find an injured animal, don’t touch it; contact local authorities for assistance.