*This story has been updated with a correction from the Tuscarawas County Health Department. The deceased raccoon was collected in Warren Township near Goshen Township.
Tuscarawas County, Ohio - Area public health officials are reporting the first case of animal rabies in Tuscarawas County.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Tuscarawas County Health Department was notified by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) that a deceased raccoon that had been collected near Echo Lake Road in Warren Township near Goshen Township has tested positive for Raccoon Rabies Variant (RRV).
RRV is a strain of rabies found in the eastern United States and has recently been identified in areas of Stark County.
Officials note that this is the first confirmed case of raccoon rabies variant reported in Tuscarawas County to date, and one that signifies an immediate and potential threat of raccoon rabies to new areas of eastern and central Ohio.
Common signs that a raccoon or other wild animal has rabies include agitation, disorientation, excessively drooling, wobbling when walking and biting or snapping at people or objects.
Tuscarawas County Health Department will continue to work with ODA to perform enhanced surveillance sample collections near the areas where the rabid raccoon was found.
The department is asking residents to report any raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes or bobcats displaying strange behavior found in either township and surrounding areas by calling (330) 343-5550 or emailing email@example.com.
If established, officials say the strain could lead to a dramatic increase in rabies exposure to people and pets. To protect Ohioans and their domestic animals, the Tuscarawas County Health Department is partnering with the Ohio Department of Health, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and Wildlife Service (WS) to determine the best response
The Tuscarawas County Health Department conducted two low-cost rabies vaccine clinics for dogs and cats in June and is planning another clinic in the near future. The date and time of the clinic will be announced on www.tchdnow.org and the Tuscarawas County Health Department Facebook page once they are determined.
Anyone with questions is invited to contact the Tuscarawas County Health Department at 330-343-5550 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the ODH Zoonotic Disease program at 614-752-1029 or email@example.com.