Rabid raccoon found in Gwinnett County: Residents advised to use caution

Gwinnett County residents are being advised to use caution and avoid animals behaving unusually after a raccoon tested positive for the rabies virus. The Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement and the Gwinnett County Health Department issued a joint statement advising people to be wary of wild animals, including foxes, raccoons, and other animals that carry rabies and can transmit the virus through bites or scratches.

The warning comes after dogs attacked a raccoon at 517 Buford Highway in Buford last Tuesday. The raccoon was collected by Gwinnett Animal Welfare and Enforcement and brought to the shelter the same day for testing. The virus attacks the central nervous system and is almost always fatal in humans if untreated. Early symptoms of rabies in people include fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort.


The National Association of State Health Veterinarians recommends that unvaccinated dogs and cats exposed to a rabid animal be strictly quarantined for four months and vaccinated one month prior to being released. If you or your child have been bitten or scratched by any stray animal or an animal that is suspected to have rabies, preventive treatment is necessary.

Residents who believe they have been exposed are advised to seek immediate medical care and let them know they were exposed. They should then contact the Gwinnett County Health Department at 770-339-4260 and ask for the epidemiologist on call. To report an animal and have it picked up, residents should call the Gwinnett Animal Welfare and Enforcement Bite Office at 770-339-3200 ext. 5576. After hours, they can contact Dispatch non-emergency at 770-513-5700.

The Animal Welfare and Enforcement advises residents to make sure their pets get their rabies shots regularly, keep their pets on their property, and not leave garbage or pet food outside, which may attract wild or stray animals. Any animal acting unusually should be reported to the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement. People should stay away from any unknown animals, especially wildlife, and from wild, sick, hurt, or dead animals, which should not be picked up or moved. Wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes should not be kept as pets as it is dangerous and illegal. Finally, children should be taught not to go near, tease or play with wild animals or strange dogs and cats.