Second Raccoon Tests Positive for Rabies in Tuscarawas County

(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – The Tuscarawas County Health Department is confirming a second case of rabies found in a raccoon.

On September 10, 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) collected a raccoon that had been struck by a vehicle in Goshen Township near state route 39 during routine rabies surveillance.  On September 20, 2018 the Tuscarawas County Health Department was notified by the Ohio Department of Health that Centers for Disease Control (CDC) testing confirmed that the raccoon was positive for Raccoon Rabies Variant (RRV).  “To our knowledge, there was no human or pet exposure to this raccoon,” officials explain in a press release.  This is the second confirmed case of raccoon rabies reported in Tuscarawas County to date.  The first case was identified approximately 2.5 miles from the route 39 location on Echo Lake Road in August.

The Carroll County Health Department has reported that two rabid raccoons have been identified in the Sherrodsville area. While the New Philadelphia City Health Department have had laboratory confirmation of two bats with rabies inside the city limits.

The raccoon cases signify an immediate and potential threat of raccoon rabies variant to new areas of eastern and central Ohio.

Common signs that a raccoon or other wild animal has rabies include agitation, disorientation, excessively drooling, wobbling when walking and biting or snapping at people or objects.

Tuscarawas County Health Department will continue to work with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to perform enhanced surveillance sample collections near the areas where the rabid raccoon was found.  We are asking residents report any raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes or bobcats displaying strange behavior found in Goshen Township and surrounding areas to the Tuscarawas County Health Department by calling (330) 343-5550 or emailing director@tchdnow.org.

All of the cases in Sherrodsville, New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas County with the exception of one had pet exposures.

The Tuscarawas County Health Department conducted three low-cost rabies vaccine clinics for dogs and cats this year. TCHD would like to remind residents that it is vitally important to vaccinate all cats and dogs for rabies.  Indoor cats should also be vaccinated.  A low-cost rabies vaccination clinic will be held Saturday, September 22 from 1-3pm at 2930 South Union Avenue in Alliance, Ohio.  The cost is $10 and must be paid in cash.

Officials note that unfortunately, the only way a pet can be tested for rabies after an exposure is via brain tissue after elective euthanasia.  If pets are not vaccinated and owners do not wish to euthanize pets for testing a mandatory quarantine of 45 days to 6 months is imposed.

If established, this strain of rabies could lead to a dramatic increase in rabies exposure to people and pets.  To protect Ohioans and their domestic animals, the Tuscarawas County Health Department is partnering with the Ohio Department of Health, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and Wildlife Service (WS) to determine the best response.

If you have questions regarding the recent raccoon positive case or about rabies, in general, please feel free to contact the Tuscarawas County Health Department at 330-343-5550 or the ODH Zoonotic Disease program at 614-752-1029 or by emailing at dierctor@tchdnow.org or zoonoses@odh.ohio.gov.

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