Some local animal professionals got a lesson in rabies control Tuesday night.
Suzanne Jenkins, Director of Zoonotic and Environmental Epidemiology for the Virginia Department of Health, visited Blue Ridge Community College to talk about rabies prevention and diagnosis.
Jenkins says Virginia has one of the highest rates of animal rabies cases in the country. To avoid exposure, she says to stay away from wild animals, and keep pets up-to-date on their vaccinations.
"They're really the barrier between rabid wildlife and human beings, because most of the rabid raccoons and skunks that are out there aren't going to end up biting a person," Jenkins said, "But they're much more likely to bite our pets. If they come down with rabies, then lots of people get exposed."
Jenkins says there are between 400 and 500 reported animal cases of rabies in Virginia each year.