• By Timothy Monroe
  • Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Potentially Rabid Fox Encounters Public

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health was made aware on Thursday, June 15th, of a grey fox that confronted several individuals in the Business 40/South Hawthorne Road area of Forsyth County. It is highly abnormal for a fox to approach a human under any circumstances or even to allow itself to be seen by humans at close range for more than a brief moment. The fox has not bitten anyone during the daytime confrontations; however this type confrontation is very abnormal behavior for a wild animal. The Forsyth County Animal Control Department has set traps in the area where the fox was last seen in an attempt to catch the fox and remove the suspect rabid animal from the wild. If anyone confronts or see’s a grey fox in your neighborhood, please contact the Forsyth County Animal Control Department at 703-2490 without delay.

Rabies is caused by a virus that can affect all mammals. However in North Carolina rabies is most common in raccoons, skunks, and foxes, but has also been found in bats, beavers, and bobcats, as well as cattle, horses, dogs and cats. Some rabid animals show no signs or very subtle signs of disease, while many may exhibit a change to temperament. They may loose their fear of people and seem friendly, or they may be easily agitated, biting with little or no provocation. They may occasionally display unfocused aggression. Rabies is essentially always fatal to animals and people once signs of disease appear. The rabies virus is usually transmitted through the bite of an infectious animal, or by broken skin or mucous membrane contact with infectious saliva or central nervous tissue.

To protect oneself from rabies, direct contact with unfamiliar domestic and all wild animals should be avoided. One should never approach, handle, or feed wild animals or stray dogs or cats. If a wild animal, such as a fox, is seen or approaches an individual, that person should go indoors or otherwise move out of harm’s way and immediately notify Forsyth County Animal Control at 703-2490. Children should be taught to never approach or handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Bats should be prevented from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, schools, etc. Finally, one should be a responsible pet owner and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats and ferrets, both to protect the pet and pet owner.

Animal rabies vaccination clinics are held in Forsyth County two times each year, in the spring and in the fall. Information about these clinics is available from the Forsyth County Department of Animal Control and the Department of Public Health. In addition, animal vaccinations are provided routinely by veterinarians as a component of a pet’s health care.

For more information, visit the Rabies pages of our website.

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