UPDATE: For the first time in a decade, a case of rabies has been found in Hamilton County. East Ridge officials said a dead raccoon on Prigmore Road tested positive for the disease.

Lawrence Jones lives on the same street where a dead raccoon tested positive for rabies. He has an 11-month-old daughter.

"To be right here in East Ridge. Of course, it's going to happen in East Ridge. It's concerning because there's more. There has to be more," Lawrence Jones, a neighbor said.

East Ridge Animal Services is the one who responded to the call nearly a month ago.

They sent the animal off to the USDA and CDC to find out if the raccoon had rabies. That was confirmed on Wednesday.

"It's really one of those things that I never thought I would have to deal with. It's kind of frightening and scary and I can understand that the public would sort of react in a frightened way," Andrea Dillard, a supervisor for East Ridge Animal Services said.

Dillard said it's important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations and to talk with children about staying away from wild animals.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department isn't ruling out there could be more cases.

"It's possible. Kind of hard to tell, but the good thing is that surveillance is very good in this area. All of the animal control agencies and the health department here," Bonnie Deakins of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department said.

Deakins said if a rabid animal bites someone, they should contact their local health department to be vaccinated. She mentions the disease can be deadly if it's not treated.

As for Jones, he hopes everyone will keep a close eye on any animal that appears to have symptoms.

"You don't hear about rabies anymore. To have it come back, maybe we need to step up our precautions a little bit more again because it's something you don't hear about," Jones said.

If you see animals like raccoons, foxes, or coyotes that look sick or unwell, officials said it's best to contact your local animal control center. That way they can be safely picked up and tested for rabies. 


A positive case of raccoon variant rabies (RVR) was discovered in East Ridge last month.

On December 28, a male raccoon was found dead on Prigmore Road. 

East Ridge Animal Services took the raccoon to be tested for rabies. 

Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the animal tested positive. 

This is the first RVR case in Hamilton County since 2008.

The Hamilton County Department of Health urges anyone who sees a raccoon, fox or coyote that looks sick or unwell, to contact them immediately 423-664-0271.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.