State health department issues alert on rabies exposure in Enterprise

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ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN) — The Alabama Department of Public Health issued an alert Tuesday on a possible threat of rabies exposure in Enterprise.

According to the department, two people took a sick raccoon to the Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary after finding it alongside a road.

The raccoon died later on, and a test of the animal’s body showed the presence of rabies in its system. This could mean that the raccoon’s rescuers could have been exposed to the disease, but there was no way of contacting them since they left behind no information.

“We really don’t have any information about how to contact the individuals; we don’t know if they were local or traveling through,” said Dr. Dee W. Jones, the ADPH State Public Health Veterinarian. “A situation like this makes it very difficult for us to make contact with people to provide them medical advice for their protection. A scratch or bite from a rabid animal is very dangerous, and we go to great lengths to notify anyone with any exposure a rabid animal.”

One conservation expert said that the best thing to do when encountering sick animals in the wild is to leave them alone and call the nearest ACNR Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Office.

“The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division would like to remind the public that possession of live wildlife without a permit is illegal, and violators are subject to ticketing and fines,” Conservation Outreach Specialist Marianne Hudson said. “Leaving found wildlife alone is in the best interest of public safety and is also the best course of action for wildlife populations as a whole.”

You can find contact information for your local district office by following this link. You can also report found wildlife by calling 334-242-1814.

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