BUNCOMBE CO., N.C. (WSPA) – Officials are warning residents in the East Asheville area after a rabid raccoon attacked a man outside his home.
People are urged to report contact with an animal that was acting abnormally – such as unusually aggressive or salivating – to the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office at 828-250-6670.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. The disease is spread through saliva and can be deadly, health officials say. Any mammal can carry rabies, but it’s usually carried by raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats, according to Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS).
Health officials caution people to avoid contact with wild animals and report wild animals that are acting strangely to Animal Control.
If bitten, officials say you should immediately wash the wound with soap and water and see a healthcare provider or go to the emergency department of your local hospital.
You should also contact animal control if you or your pet is bitten.
Animal Control phone numbers in Buncombe County include:
Asheville City limits – Asheville Police: 828-252-1110
Buncombe County – Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office 828-250-6670
For rabies issues in Biltmore Forest, Black Mountain, Montreat, Weaverville and Woodfin, call Buncombe County Department of Health at 828-250-5038.
For more information on rabies exposure, people can contact their local health department with questions about rabies exposure. BCHHS Communicable Disease program can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (828) 250-5109.