Rabid Fox Found near West Club Boulevard/I-85 Area
First animal rabies case in Durham County of 2018
DURHAM, N.C. – The State Laboratory of Public Health has confirmed the county’s first animal rabies case of 2018. A rabid fox was discovered in a residential area near the West Club Boulevard at I-85 area. Two dogs have had interaction with the fox but no known human contact has been identified.
“Foxes can be found in suburban and rural areas throughout North Carolina and generally do not present any danger to humans unless they are rabid. They are primarily nocturnal so if you see a fox during daylight hours, do not approach the fox and call Durham County Animal Services if you see the animal acting aggressively,” said Dr. Arlene Seña, medical director, Durham County Department of Public Health. “As a reminder, residents should maintain and update their pet’s vaccination records. Supervise pets while they are outside or have a fenced yard if possible.”
Public Health works with the Animal Services division of the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and the Animal Protection Society (APS) of Durham to investigate suspected cases of rabies in animals and potential rabies exposures in humans.
In animals, common symptoms of rabies may include decreased energy and appetite, and vomiting. Signs progress within days to weakness, seizures, difficulty breathing and swallowing, excessive salivation, aggression, and ultimately death. Rabies in humans is rare, and is 100% preventable through prompt appropriate medical care and vaccination, if exposed. Visit the NC Health and Human Services Fact Sheet for more details.
Exposure to wild animals is the primary way people, domestic animals, and livestock may contract rabies. Rabid raccoons, foxes, skunks, and coyotes typically show no fear of people, may appear with uncoordinated movements, and be active during the day despite their typical nature to be more active at dusk. In urban areas, they may attack domestic pets.
The most common mode of rabies virus transmission is through the bite and virus-containing saliva of an infected animal. Remember these tips to prevent exposure to rabies through wild animals:
- Never approach, handle, or feed wild or stray animals.
- Do not leave pets unattended or allow them to roam free.
- Keep dogs, cats, ferrets, and livestock vaccinated against rabies.
- Remember, birdfeeders will attract squirrels, foxes, and other mammals.
- Secure garbage, and remember that composting also attracts wildlife.
- If you see a wild animal that is behaving abnormally or appears injured or in distress, do not approach or handle it. Notify Durham County Animal Services immediately by calling 919-560-0900.
If you are bitten by a possibly rabid animal or get its saliva on an existing scratch, wound, or mucous membrane, wash the wound or exposed area immediately for 15 minutes with soap and clean, running water. Then seek medical attention to determine if post-exposure vaccination is required.
For more information about rabies, call 919-560-7896 or visit http://www.dconc.gov/government/departments-f-z/public-health/rabies-prevention-and-control. Pet owners with questions about vaccination requirements should contact Durham County Animal Services at 919-560-0900.