Brunswick County fox confirmed positive for rabies
BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County Health Services received notification that a local fox tested positive for rabies this week, prompting health officials to remind residents to stay aware and take precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their pets from potentially rabid animals.
The fox is suspected to be connected to two attacks Wednesday in the southern end of the county. The first attack involved two individuals in Ocean Ilse Beach. The second attack involved one individual in the Sunset Beach area. All three individuals sustained scratches and bites.
The fox was captured and put down following the second attack, where it was promptly sent for rabies testing. The individual from the second attack also reported that they encountered an emaciated raccoon that was unafraid of humans—two signs of potential rabies infection.
Health Services and the Animal Protective Services division at the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office are working together to investigate the incidents and inform the community about proactive safety steps they can take wherever they live in the county.
Steps you can take to protect yourself, loved ones and pets include:
- Vaccinate your pets against rabies and keep the vaccinations current. North Carolina rabies law requires that all owned dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age.
- Supervise pets outdoors, and keep all pets on a leash.
- Do not feed pets outdoors. Pet food attracts wildlife.
- Do not feed wildlife, feral cats or feral dogs.
- Secure garbage cans with wildlife-proof lids.
- Leave young wildlife alone. If you find a juvenile animal that appears to need help, it is best to leave it alone and call a wildlife professional.
In the United States, human fatalities associated with rabies occur in people who fail to seek medical assistance, usually because they were unaware of their exposure. In most cases, fatality from rabies in infected humans can be prevented by prompt medical attention and vaccination.
If you are bitten or scratched by any animal that could possibly have rabies:
- Clean the wound well with soap and running water for 15 minutes and contact your doctor. The doctor will determine if a series of rabies vaccinations will be needed.
- Note the location and a description of the animal to provide to animal control.
- Do not try to catch any wild animal that bites or scratches you. Call animal control immediately to capture the animal for rabies testing.
- If the animal is someone’s pet, get the owner’s name and address and provide them to the animal control officer. Any mammal can transmit rabies. The animal that bit you, depending on the species and circumstances, must be evaluated or tested for rabies.
For recommendations regarding the public and interacting with wildlife, including feeding or rescuing wildlife, visit: www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/WildlifeProblems/documents/Feeding-Wildlife-Hazards.pdf
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