A llama at a home on Elrod Road in Morganton, Georgia
tested positive for rabies after biting and spitting at people.
Four people were in contact with the llama while it was symptomatic and shedding the rabies virus; therefore, Fannin County Environmental Health officials recommended that all four immediately seek medical advice from their healthcare provider and consult with the Georgia Poison Control Center regarding the extent of their exposure.
Shannon Bradburn, Environmental Health Specialist, received a call from Ocoee Animal Hospital in Blue Ridge on January 4 stating that a llama specimen, which had been sent by a local veterinarian to Athen’s Diagnostic Laboratory and then to the Georgia Department of Health Albany Regional Laboratory, was confirmed positive for the rabies virus.
Bradburn said the veterinarian had been called to the property on Elrod Road on December 28 because the animal had exhibited signs of aggression, including loss of motor skills, biting itself, biting at people and spitting at one of its caretakers. Consequently, the veterinarian euthanized the llama and collected the specimen for the testing that was subsequently performed by the two labs.
The caretaker who was spat on by the llama is receiving post exposure rabies treatment.
After consulting with a physician and Georgia Poison Control, it was determined that one of the four individuals in contact with the llama experienced very limited exposure so will not need treatment.
Health officials are still waiting to hear back from the other two people involved as to whether treatment has been recommended for them.
If officials do not hear back from these persons soon, they will be contacted for an update regarding their medical consultation.
Rabies is almost always deadly in humans who contract it and do not receive treatment. People must recognize the exposure and promptly get appropriate medical treatment before developing rabies symptoms.
Health officials urge residents to protect against rabies by maintaining rabies vaccinations in their pets and livestock.
Additionally, it is important to avoid contact with all unfamiliar animals, both domestic and wild.
For more information about rabies and its prevention, call Fannin County Environmental Health at (706) 632-3024 or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov
. File Photo courtesy WikiMedia