This is the second laboratory confirmed case of rabies in Smith County this year.
Public health officials say it is critical for people not to handle bats, skunks, raccoons, or other wild animals. They also say it is important for children to tell their parents of any contact with wild animals or any sick animals.
Anyone who knows of a person being bitten by an animal must report the bite incident to the Smith County Rabies Control Authority for proper investigation.
Smith County Rabies Control Authority advises all citizens to confirm that their dogs and cats are currently vaccinated for rabies. A City of Tyler and Smith County ordinances require annual rabies vaccinations for all dogs and cats. It is a class C misdemeanor for failure to vaccinate a dog or cat by four months of age.
Animal control officials said preventive immunization for rabies is the only effective defense against this always fatal disease.
For more information on rabies control, contact City of Tyler Animal Control at 903-535-0045.