Guilford County is a great place to come if you want to get rabies.

Most people don’t want to get rabies – and that’s probably true of most animals as well. However, the state’s final number for rabies cases in animals are in for 2022, and Guilford County has way more than its fair share of animals roaming the county with the disease.

An examination of a database compiled by state health officials shows that from Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2022, Guilford County had 22 cases of rabid animals – enough for it to win the title for Most Rabid Animals Found In A North Carolina County.

That’s one category where Guilford County handily beat out its economic development rival counties: the more populous Mecklenburg and Wake counties.  In 2022, both of those counties had 14 cases of animals that tested positive for rabies.

“Similarly situated” counties – ones that Guilford County often looks to for comparison in many categories – don’t have the same high rabies counts.  Durham, which is considered similar to Guilford County in a number of ways, only had two cases of rabies in 2022.

A look at some counties in the central part of the state reveal the same low numbers: Rockingham County had two cases; Alamance County had one; Davidson County had eight; Stokes County had five; Caswell County had two.

The only neighbor that had a number close to Guilford County’s 22 was Forsyth County with 20 – giving that county the honor of second place.

Iredell County showed in the race with 18 cases.

Guilford County also had a nice variety of animals putting its score over the top.  One county, for instance, had a respectable number with 12 cases – however, all of those were rabid raccoons.  Guilford county had three rabid bats, one rabid cat, eight rabid foxes, six rabid raccoons, four rabid skunks, and a rabid partridge in a pear tree. (Actually, there was no rabid partridge in a pear tree, here or anywhere else.)

The last case of the calendar year in Guilford County was a raccoon on Southwick Drive in Greensboro that tested positive for the rabies virus six days before Christmas.

North Carolina law requires that all domestic pets four months or older – whether living inside or outdoors – be vaccinated for rabies.

The Guilford County Health Department gives the following advice, which, really, should be fairly evident:

  • “Wild animals are not usually friendly so be very careful if they approach you.”
  • “Do not try to separate fighting animals.”
  • “Do not approach, try to play with, touch, rescue or treat any wildlife.”
  • “Avoid direct contact with wildlife, dead or alive.”

If you find an injured or rabid animal, call Guilford County Animal Control at 336-641-5990.