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Rabid groundhog shot, killed in W.Va.

October 27, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

A groundhog that was shot Tuesday after it wandered into a Jefferson County home tested positive for rabies Friday, according to the Jefferson County Health Department.

No one was hurt or infected by the groundhog, which followed a family's dogs into their house in the Bolivar area, Rosemarie Cannarella of the health department said.

Cannarella said the owner of the house shot the groundhog, which was sent to the West Virginia Department of Health for rabies testing. The groundhog tested positive for rabies Friday.

"When wild animals act unusually, you have to be aware that something might be wrong," said Cannarella, who noted that rabid wildlife generally do not exhibit common signs of rabies such as foaming at the mouth.

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Cannarella said this is the first rabid groundhog she has ever seen.

"It's very unusual. But if there's one, you have to think there might be more," Cannarella said.

She said people should avoid all strange animals, especially those that appear ill. Normally nocturnal animals seen during daylight hours should also be avoided, Cannarella said.

She said people with questions about rabies should call the health department at 304-728-8415.

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