BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – On Thursday afternoon, the Central Virginia Health District reported that a fox tested positive for rabies after biting a person on Stone Mountain Road in Bedford County.
According to the health district, the person who was bitten will receive medical treatment to prevent rabies — which is most effective when treatment begins soon after exposure — and “should be fine.”
Health officials say the incident is a reminder that rabies is present among wildlife in the region.
Rabies is believed to be caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system, the most common source of exposure being the bite of a rabid animal, but it can also be transmitted if the saliva of a rabid animal comes into contact with your mouth. , your eyes, your nose, or open wounds.
On top of that, if proper medical care is not provided after exposure to the virus, rabies can be fatal, according to the health district.
Therefore, we urge you to take a few simple steps to protect yourself and your pets from rabies.
“Pet owners should keep their pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Virginia law requires that all dogs
and that cats four months of age and older are vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian, and that vaccinations are kept up to date,” the Central Virginia Health District said. “It’s important to avoid contact with wild or stray animals, and parents should make sure their children are taught not to touch, pet or otherwise handle unfamiliar animals.”
Health officials have also offered the following tips for preventing rabies in people and pets:
- Do not feed stray animals.
- Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks.
- Feed your pets indoors and don’t let them roam.
- Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals, as well as unfamiliar pets.
- Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals. If you have concerns about sick or injured wildlife, you are encouraged to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center.
- Keep wild animals out of homes by covering chimneys with screens; block openings in attics, basements and porches; and ensure trash cans have tight-fitting lids.
- Do not attempt to trap or handle stray and wild animals.
- If you find a bat inside that may have come into contact with someone, do not release it. Instead, you should contact your local animal control officer or health department to determine if the animal should be picked up and tested for rabies.
- If you are bitten by a wild or stray animal, don’t panic. All you need to do is wash the wound(s) thoroughly with warm soapy water and contact animal control, your doctor or the health department for further advice.