ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -

A raccoon near Sixth Street, by St. Simons Elementary School on St. Simons Island, tested positive for rabies, and at least five people were exposed to the raccoon, according to health officials.

Those exposed have been advised to contact their health care provider.

Public health officials are requesting that anyone who has come into contact with a raccoon in that area to call the Environmental Health Division of the Glynn County Health Department at 912-279-2940. Officials also It is also apprehended a gray and white cat that frequents the area that may have been was exposed to the raccoon.

Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.

The Glynn County Health Department Environmental Health Division offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Avoid contact with animals you don't know.
  • Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines by four months of age, followed by a booster shot one year later, and another one every one to three years as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good principle for children to learn.

If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Glynn County Animal Control at 912-554-7500 and the Glynn County Health Department Environmental Health Division at 912-279-2940.