Health authorities in North Georgia say residents should avoid close contact with wild animals and stay far away from an animal that appears sick or injured. Seeking immediate medical attention if bitten by an unfamiliar animal is important because rabies cannot be treated by home remedies and is nearly always fatal.

Health officials are taking steps to reduce the chance of rabies spreading among wild raccoons. The most recent case of rabies involved a raccoon that bit a dog in Floyd County. That dog is now quarantined and will remain in this setting for six-months until it can be declared free of symptoms. 

Rabies was more common five to seven years ago when close to 20 cases where reported in a calendar year in Chattooga County. Raccoons are among the most common carriers of rabies,  there have been cases of rabid skunks and foxes reported in Northwest Georgia in the past. Health officials say efforts to spread rabies vaccines into wildlife areas near towns has proven effective in recent years.