Our View: Prevention can take teeth out of rabies
With two recently reported instances of rabies in Watauga County — one in a skunk and one in a kitten — it's not too early in the season to be mindful of the dangers of a disease that worldwide claims the life of one person every 10 minutes.
Rabies is a brain-attacking virus that must be treated immediately with vaccines — indeed, only one person in the United States has been reported to recover from the disease without a rabies vaccination.
Those are odds not worth playing around with, and that's why that stray cat is not worth playing with, period. Involving yourself with a stray goes against rabies prevention tip No. 1: Enjoy wildlife from a distance.
Other tips make just as much sense: keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for your cats and dogs, supervise your pets when they are outside, keep lids on garbage cans and don't leave pet food outside overnight, and wash with soap for at least five minutes and seek immediate medical attention if you are bit or scratched by an animal.
Living in the High Country may mean unavoidable contact with rabid animals. Staying free of the disease in the High Country means using common sense and restraint where wildlife and stray animals are found.
It also means contacting professional help if you have questions or concerns about rabies. Call the health department at (828) 264-4995 or animal control at (828) 262-1672.
To safeguard your own pets, a rabies vaccination clinic for cats and dogs will be held from 8 a.m. to noon June 16 at the Watauga Humane Society parking lot at 312 Paws Way in Boone.