Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Virginia State News

June 24, 2014

Virginia resident undergoing treatment after exposure to rabid fox

INDEPENDENCE, Va. — The Mount Rogers Health District reports that a Virginia resident is receiving treatment for rabies following exposure to a rabid fox. The Grayson County Health Department received lab confirmation of rabies on June 12. A dog that fought with the fox has been given a rabies booster and will be under observation. Fortunately, the dog was up-to-date on its rabies vaccination.

“We want to remind everyone that rabies is commonly found in wild animals and in feral cats and stray dogs throughout the Mt. Rogers Health District and across Virginia,” said Ed Ritterbusch, district environmental health supervisor. “The possibility of people and pets being exposed to this deadly disease is even more of a concern in populated areas such as towns, so it’s critical to protect your family and your pets against exposures, and help to limit the spread of rabies.”

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system. Animals that are sick with rabies shed the virus in their saliva, so any animal bite should be taken seriously. The disease is almost always fatal, but there is a vaccine to prevent it when a bite occurs. If you are bitten, wash the wound immediately with soap and water. Call your physician, local health department or animal control agency immediately.

To limit potential exposure, keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for pets and selected livestock. Never approach wild or stray animals or leave pet food or garbage outside. Keep your animals on your property and if your animal is attacked or bitten by a wild or stray animal, report it to your local health or animal control authorities. Do not keep wild animals as pets — enjoy them from a distance, even if they seem friendly. A rabid animal sometimes acts tame.

The Mount Rogers Health District serves the counties of Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washington and Wythe and the cities of Bristol and Galax.

 For questions about rabies protection or possible exposures, please contact your local health department or the Mt. Rogers Health District at 276-781-7450.

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