By: Paula Walter
There has been one confirmed case of rabies in Johnson County so far this year. The incident occurred on March 21st on Copperhead Hollow Road in the Dry Run area of the county.
According to Jerry Taylor, an environmental health specialist with the Tennessee Department of Health, all parties in the neighborhood were advised of the positive rabies test. According to Taylor, a skunk attacked and bit a dog. The owner of the dog saw the altercation and confirmed the attack. The typical protocol is a 10-day confinement from the time of the bite by the animal in question. In this case, the dog was euthanized before the skunk was tested for rabies.
According to Taylor, seeing a skunk or raccoon during the daytime is a probable indication that something is not right with the animal. Any warm-blooded animal has the potential to contract rabies, including humans.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rabies virus is transmitted via a bite into a muscle from one animal to another. It travels from the bite to the brain. The incubation time between the bite and when symptoms appear can vary from approximately three weeks to 12 weeks. As the virus reaches the brain, it then moves to the saliva of the animal. At this time, the animal shows signs of rabies. Symptoms include fever, seizures, paralysis, inability to swallow, lack of muscle coordination, shyness or aggression, irritability and excess saliva, among others. Once the animal shows signs of sickness, it usually dies within seven days.
Throughout Tennessee, there have been a total of five cases of rabies that include one fox and four skunks. The best protection against the rabies virus is to vaccinate your pets.
There will be a rabies clinic in Johnson County the week of May 1 through 6 on the following schedule. The charge is $8 fee for both cats and dogs. Clinics will be held at Trade Elementary on May 1 at 6 p.m., old Shouns school on May 1 at 7 p.m., Laurel Bloomery Elementary on May 2 at 6:30 p.m., Doe Valley Elementary on May 3 at 6 p.m., old Butler school on May 3 at 7 p.m., Roan Creek Elementary on May 4 at 6 p.m., Dry Run Fire Department on May 4 at 7 p.m., Shady Valley Elementary on May 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Mountain City Elementary on May 6 at 11 a.m.