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Officials confirm rabies case in Dawson County
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A Dawson County woman is receiving treatment after being bitten by a rabid dog June 24.

County officials confirmed the rabies case June 29, saying the public should not be alarmed as the dog in question has been euthanized.

"The Georgia Public Health Laboratory tested brain tissue from the dog for the presence of the rabies virus," said Bill Ringle with the department of public health.

Two other dogs belonging to the same owner were also put down as a precaution, according to Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg.

"The two other dogs came back negative for rabies," he said.

Ringle said the decision to euthanize the two dogs was made "because one had injuries from when it was attacked by the confirmed rabid dog and the other dog had a leg injury that could not be accounted for."

None of the three dogs had been vaccinated for rabies, according to Ringle.

The woman, whose name and age were not released, was bitten by a tan-colored, mixed-breed on Burnt River Road, near Bailey Waters Road, northwest of Dawsonville.

Ringle said health insurance law prevents government from releasing the extent of her injuries.

"Since public health is not a primary health care provider for rabies treatment, we would not comment on injuries or treatment," he said. "Public health's role is to collect and submit the sample from the animal for testing, advise any human exposed to possible rabies to seek advice from their doctor, and to submit results of testing to the state public health office."

A 15-year-old male that reportedly touched the dog is also being evaluated for symptoms of the virus, according to Berg.

Dawson County animal control officers went door to door notifying neighbors within a one-mile radius of the bite that the dog had been confirmed to have rabies.

"When a domestic animal is confirmed to have rabies, the protocol is to hand deliver a notice to every residence within a one-mile radius of the animal's home location," Ringle said. "We have also contacted each veterinarian office in Dawson County to make them aware of the situation."

Residents living on Grover Burt, Keith Evans, Robert Gibby, Old Henry Grady, Juno, Ivey, Reece, Mildred Elliott and Davenport roads, as well as Shamrock Lane and Tatum Trail that have outside roaming pets are urged to re-vaccinate immediately if they believe their animals may have been in contact with the rabid dog.

"In such cases, consult with your veterinarian to inquire about a rabies vaccine booster. All unvaccinated animals that have been in contact with this animal should be euthanized, or undergo isolated confinement for a period of six months," county officials said in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

There are penalties for pet owners that do not vaccinate their dogs and cats.

"Georgia state law requires that every dog or cat, ages three months or older shall be vaccinated for rabies. The penalty is a misdemeanor," Ringle said.

This is the second case of rabies in Dawson County this year.

Ringle said a raccoon in the Amicalola Church and Steele Bridge roads area tested positive for the virus May 20. There were three rabies cases involving one fox and two raccoons confirmed in 2015, he said.

For more information, or if you notice any domestic, stray or wild animals acting out of the ordinary, avoid contact with animal and confine it, then call 9-1-1 or Dawson County Animal Control at (706) 265-7387.