Orange Co. reports 10th positive rabies test of 2015

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A skunk shot and killed in Hillsborough has tested positive for rabies, the tenth case in Orange County this year, officials announced Friday.

The case originated Dec. 16 when Hillsborough residents noticed that their dog had been sprayed by a skunk. One of the residents shot and killed the skunk and then had animal control come to remove the body. Animal control then sent the animal to be tested for rabies.

The dog involved in the incident was not vaccinated against rabies and, as per state law, it must either be euthanized or quarantined for six months at the owner’s expense. In this case, the dog will be destroyed.

According to officials, skunks are not the dominant host species of rabies and contract it from a host species, most often the raccoon.  This is known as the “spillover effect.”  The other species that are most susceptible to getting rabies from raccoons are dogs, cats, groundhogs, and foxes.

The other host species of rabies in our own region and others is bats.

Orange County had 23 positive rabies cases in 2014, a big jump from 2013 and 2012 when 12 positive cases were reported in each year.


The next Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinic will take place:

  • Jan. 23, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Animal Services Center, located at 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill.

The cost for rabies vaccinations is $10. Clinic dates for the rest of 2016 will soon be posted at

For more information, please call Orange County Animal Services at 919-942-7387.

Here are general tips to help minimize rabies risks:

  • Residents should not approach animals that they do not know.
  • Residents should ensure their pets have a current rabies vaccination.
  • If a pet is allowed outside, a booster vaccine is recommended; outdoor pets should be kept inside until they receive booster vaccines.
  • Do not feed stray or unknown animals, including cats and dogs.
  • Do not leave trash or food outside, unless it is in a trash can with a tight-fitting lid.
  • If a pet is fed outside, do not leave food out overnight.
  • If a pet comes in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact a veterinarian immediately.

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