I want to address three items in this article — a rabid raccoon, World AIDS Day and the Great American Smoke-out.
Recently, a raccoon was killed by some dogs near Orrum. The raccoon tested positive for rabies. Animals that are current on their rabies vaccination require a short quarantine period if they have contact with a rabid animal or one that could be assumed to be rabid (in case it cannot be tested).
Animals that are not current on their vaccinations have two options: euthanasia or the local Health director may allow them to be quarantined at an animal hospital for six months at the owner’s expense if a facility can be found. In this particular case, the animals were not current on their vaccinations, which leads to one of the two previous options.
Foxes and raccoons are found in all parts of the county irrespective of the value of the neighborhoods — a rabid one was in a garden center of a local home improvement store some years ago — and some of them are going to be rabid. If your house animal only goes outside to relieve himself, he runs the risk of running into a rabid animal.
Rabid animals may not run off as a normal animal would, so your pet may get exposed. Unvaccinated animals cannot be quarantined at home so you may have lost the animal. We just had a countywide rabies clinic last month and the next one is in April. If your animal is not current, I would not take a chance and wait. After the fact is way too late.
The Great American Smoke-out on Nov. 15 came and went with a yawn. The editor and I disagree about the warnings necessary for tobacco products usage (as he is written everyone should really know the harm by now). I believe everyone should know but our society believes in stating the obvious, perhaps as an overkill.
Anything that prevents children from initiating the smoking habit should be used, including pictures and dialogues of consequences of smoking. North Carolina was one of five states nationally that have seen a significant decrease in cigarette use and increased perceptions of great risk from smoking for children ages 12 to 17 from 2002 to 2010.
This came to mind because someone close to me joined that weird part of society wherein college-aged girls initiate smoking. Being a couple years removed from school, I pointed out to her that only 9.8 percent of the college undergraduate degreed males smoke — and half of them are married. For males with a graduate degree, it is 5.2 percent who smoke. If 100 male college graduates are in a room, there may only be 4 or so smokers to choose from. And you have not even gotten to looks, personality or whatever floats your boat. So one can use love.com or whatever, but if you quit it sure would open a whole lot more opportunities.
World AIDS Day was Dec. 1. In 2011 there were 2.5 million people newly infected with HIV worldwide. There were 1.7 million who died, which is a significant decline from the high point of 2.3 million. In this county, which has more than 80 percent of its residents see no problems with blatant discrimination, I think we can all agree on the 2012 theme of “Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation.” How this is to be accomplished, that is the major difference.