Rabid Skunk Confirmed in Spring City, Near Town of Cleveland, Russell Co.

January 9, 2019

For More Information Contact: Brian Stanley, environmental health manager, Cumberland Plateau Health District, 276-415-3370

–Residents should report any possible human or animal contact with any suspected rabid animal.–

(RUSSELL CO., Va.) – A skunk collected on January 7, 2019 from the Spring City community near the Town of Cleveland in Russell County tested positive for rabies. This is the first confirmed case of animal rabies in Russell County and in the Cumberland Plateau Health District this year.

After observing the skunk’s behavior, a resident of the community shot the skunk and notified authorities. The health department submitted the specimen for testing, which was positive for rabies. The health department asks residents in this area who may have come in contact or have pets or livestock that may have come in contact with any suspicious animal to please contact the Russell County Health Department at 276-889-7621 or Russell County Animal Control at 276-889-8098.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Once symptoms in humans develop, the infection is usually fatal. Administering preventive treatment following an exposure and before symptoms develop is critical in preventing disease and death. “It’s important to seek medical attention promptly after a possible exposure,” said Sue Cantrell, M.D., director of the Cumberland Plateau Health District.

The Cumberland Plateau Health District strongly advises that people take these steps to protect family members and pets from rabies:

  • Vaccinate your dogs, cats and ferrets and keep their vaccinations up to date;
  • Avoid contact with wild animals or stray cats and dogs;
  • Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs;
  • Report stray animals to your local animal control agency;
  • Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home; and
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.

For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/DEE/Rabies or call the Russell County Health Department at 276-889-7621.