Rabies confirmed in raccoon in Newnan

Rabies has been confirmed in a raccoon that was in a downtown Newnan neighborhood last week.

On Friday, a Newnan resident reported seeing a raccoon in their yard acting strangely and then running toward them.

Newnan Animal Warden Cyndi Hoffman went to the residence and the raccoon was caught. The body was sent to the lab, where results came back positive for rabies, said Gina Snider, city public information officer, on Wednesday.

The incident occurred near the intersection of Greenville Street and Nimmons Street. The animal warden is urging residents to check their vet records and make sure their pets’ rabies vaccinations are current, according to Snider.

"These vaccinations are critical to your families' and your pets' well-being," said Hoffman.

Hoffman reminded residents of the city's leash law and vaccination law. Citations will be issued if residents are caught breaking these laws. The ordinances are available online at www.cityofnewnan.org. Newnan residents can report animal-related issues to city animal control at 770-254-2355, ext. 163.

Symptoms of rabies for animals and humans usually develop between 20 and 60 days after exposure, said Hoffman. Rabid animals may become aggressive, combative and highly sensitive to touch and other kinds of stimulation. They may also become vicious.

There is also a "dumb" form of the disease in which the animal becomes lethargic, weak in one or more limbs, and unable to raise its head or make sounds because its throat and neck muscles are paralyzed. In both kinds of animal rabies, death occurs a few days after symptoms appear, usually from respiratory failure.

Rabies infection in humans begins with symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat followed in several days by more serious and rapidly progressing symptoms, such as restlessness, hallucinations and seizures.

The final stage is coma and death.

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