JAVA, Va. -

A raccoon in Pittsylvania County has tested positive for rabies.

The raccoon was found Friday in Java, near Java road.

The Virginia Department of Health urges people to vaccinate their dogs and pets.

Here is the news release from the Virginia Department of Health:

Rabies Health Alert
April 25, 2014

To all residents of Java Road, Java Virginia

A Raccoon in your neighborhood recently tested positive for Rabies. Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that lives in the saliva and brain and nerve tissue of the infected animal. Rabies is transmitted through a scratch, bite or by getting saliva or brain tissue in an open wound or in the eye or mouth. Rabies is preventable in animals through vaccinations, but fatal to both animals and humans once contracted.

It is possible that this rabid Raccoon could have come in contact with other neighborhood animals (i.e., cats, dogs, horses).

Unvaccinated dogs, cats and ferrets, with no known exposure to a potentially rabid animal should be vaccinated immediately. The Code of Virginia requires pet owners to keep their pets current on rabies vaccinations for animals four months old or older.

In addition, citizens should not approach or touch wild animals, and should report any abnormal behavior involving wild animals.

Residents are asked to observe their vaccinated dogs and other pets for the next 45 days for signs and symptoms of rabies, including a change in behavior, excitability, irritability, staggering, or biting.

To prevent the spread of rabies, everyone should:

- AVOID contact with wild animals and domestic animals you do not know

- VACCINATE all your dogs, cats and ferrets and keep their vaccinations current.

- CALL your doctor and the local health department if you are exposed, or your veterinarian and local animal control if your pet is exposed.

For more information please contact Danville / Pittsylvania Health Department

- Pittsylvania County Health Department at (434) 432-7232 ext. 260