Rabies alert in St. Simons Island linked to illegally held raccoon


The Georgia Department of Natural Resources confirms a rabies outbreak is linked to a raccoon that someone was illegally holding in their home.     

The rabies alert covers St. Simons Island in the area around Sixth Street. DNR said a woman holding the raccoon in her home was actually bitten by it several times the animal tested positive for rabies.     

Action News spoke with some neighbors who told us they saw health officials walking in and out of this home Thursday. They say the woman later returned, hysterical.
DNR said other infected raccoons were found living in other neighbor's homes and those  animals may also be infected. Health officials  are urging everyone in that neighborhood to bring the animals in and not turn them loose.

Health experts say at least five people have been exposed to a raccoon that tested positive for rabies.  Those individuals have been advised to see their doctors. Call Glynn County Animal Control at 912-554-7500 and the Glynn County Health Department Environmental Health Division at 912-279-2940 if you have questions or need medical treatment.

Authorities also captured a possibly rabies-infected gray and white cat seen wandering around St. Simons Elementary School.

Rabies can be deadly, often spread by infected animals.

Symptoms in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, foaming at the mouth, paralysis and showing no fear of natural enemies.

For more information, residents can call the Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Office (912-264-7237) or the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Office (912-262-3173).