Raccoon attack prompts rabies warning on St. Simons Island

Glynn County health officials offer advice to protect from rabies

Photo by Pixabay.com
Photo by Pixabay.com

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Georgia health officials issued a warning Tuesday after a potentially rabid raccoon attacked a woman on St. Simons Island.

The woman was standing in her driveway in the Island Club area on Sunday when the raccoon scratched and bit her.

Officials said the animal wasn't caught, but based on its actions it likely has rabies.

The woman is being treated by her health care provider as a precaution.

The attack prompted a warning to Glynn County residents about animals native to coastal Georgia that can carry rabies, including raccoons, foxes and bats.

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 Environmental Health office offered 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 year 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 you're ever bitten by an animal, seek medical care immediately and contact Glynn County Animal Control at 912-554-7500 and the Glynn County Environmental Health office at 912-279-2940.