FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Temperatures are going up, and that means the risk of rabies-related incidents is going up too, according to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Division.

“With the warmer weather, many humans and their pets are spending more time outdoors,” Animal Services said Tuesday. “Wildlife are also more active as they venture out to find food and/or new shelter.”

Animal Services says certain species are susceptible to rabies and are more likely to be carriers, such as skunks, raccoons, bats and foxes. Rabies can spread to pets as well as humans.

“Fortunately, we have not historically had a large number of rabies cases in Forsyth County, but
there are cases reported every year,” Animal Services said. “We encourage our community members to take every precaution to ensure that the number of cases stays minimal.”

The N.C. Department of Public Health recommends vaccinating your pets, supervising pets and keeping them on a leash when outdoors, do not leave pet food outside, do not feed wildlife, use wildlife-proof lids on trash cans and do not touch dead animals with your bare hands.

If you encounter an animal acting strangely, make sure that you and others, including pets, stay away.

“Simply seeing wildlife out and about during daylight hours, or spotting wildlife in an area where people live, is not immediate cause for concern,” Animal Services said. “Even animals that are primarily nocturnal, such as raccoons and foxes, will search for food at any time when hungry. Failing to secure lids on trash cans or intentionally leaving food outside for strays will quickly attract unwanted wildlife guests.”

Anyone with concerns about rabies or wildlife is asked to contact the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office directly on the non-emergency number at (336) 727-2112.