CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — There have been several incidents recently of wild skunks chasing humans and pets in northern Murray and Whitfield Counties. A skunk on River Road in Murray County and a skunk on Riverdale Road in north Whitfield County have been confirmed as rabid. Skunks normally avoid people and are mostly nocturnal. When skunks, raccoons and similar wild animals are visible during daylight hours, they may have rabies. Rabid animals may be aggressive or they may seem sick, disoriented and lethargic.
Wildfires in the area may be forcing wild animals out of their normal habitats and into the paths of residents. Please make certain pets are currently vaccinated against rabies. Rabies is a deadly virus that can be transmitted to humans through the saliva of infected animals. All hoofed livestock are susceptible to rabies. Any livestock showing neurological symptoms should be evaluated by your veterinarian for rabies.
For more information about rabies and its prevention, contact the local county Environmental Health office or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/rabies.