Health Department: Confirmed rabies case in Rowan County

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, April 30, 2024

MT. ULLA — Rowan County health authorities confirmed a positive rabies case last week.

According to a release from the Rowan County Health Department, the infected animal, a cat, was found off Highway 801.

“This discovery is a reminder of the importance of remaining alert and taking appropriate precautions when encountering wild or stray animals,” Rowan County Community Health Manager Courtney Meece said. “Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and can be fatal if left untreated. It is primarily transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite.”

Symptoms of rabies in animals may include:

  • Daytime activity in animals normally active at night
  • Overly aggressive
  • Staggering, weakness and paralysis
  • A change in the sound in the animal’s voice
  • Inability to eat or drink
  • Drooling or frothing at the mouth
  • Convulsions

In the event that an individual encounters a wild or stray animal displaying any of those signs, they should use extreme caution and avoid approaching or attempting to handle the animal and are encouraged to call the Rowan County Animal Shelter at 704-216-7768 and select option 2 to be connected to an animal enforcement officer. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

All calls outside of the operation hours of the Rowan County Animal Shelter should be made to 911.

Rowan County residents are advised to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies:

  • Avoid contact with unfamiliar animals, especially wildlife such as raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks.
  • Ensure that your pets, including dogs and cats, are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.
  • Do not feed or attempt to handle wild animals, even if they appear to be tame or friendly.
  • Securely seal garbage cans and food sources to prevent attracting wildlife to your property.
  • Teach children to never approach or touch wild animals and to report any encounters to an adult immediately.

If you or a loved one are bitten or scratched by a wild animal, thoroughly clean the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. Prompt medical treatment, including post-exposure prophylaxis, can prevent the onset of rabies in humans.

The Rowan County Public Health Department is continuing to monitor the situation closely and is working to ensure the safety and well-being of the community.

For updates and additional information, go to for more information about rabies.