Southside Health District Warns of Rabies Concerns

July 25, 2019

For Information Contact Risk Communications Manager Lorrie Andrew-Spear, Lorrie.Andrew-Spear@vdh.virginia.gov

Town of Lacrosse, VA

In order to protect the health of residents and visitors, the Southside Health District is issuing a notice about a fox that has been found with rabies in the Town of Lacrosse in Mecklenburg County.

A fox that was found on July 17, 2019 in the 200 block of East Pine Street in the Town of Lacrosse has tested positive for rabies. The rabid fox interacted with a pet dog, which was current on its rabies vaccination, and is now being observed, which is routine procedure. The Southside HD asks anyone who may have come in contact with a fox in or near the 200 block of East Pine Street in the Town of Lacrosse to call the health district at 434-738-9557.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Rabies can be prevented in cats, dogs, ferrets and some livestock with a rabies vaccination. Rabies kills almost any mammal or human that gets sick from it. The rabies virus is mainly in the saliva and brain tissue of rabid animals. It can be transmitted through a bite or by getting saliva or brain tissue in a wound or in the eye or mouth.

Steps to Stop the Spread of Rabies:

To protect pets and their owners from rabies, Virginia law requires that all dogs and cats four months of age and older be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian, and that vaccinations be kept current.

The Southside Health District is reminding the public to avoid contact with stray dogs, feral cats, bats and wild animals, particularly in the area where the fox was found. See additional precautions below.

Additional Steps to Protect Against Rabies Exposure:

  • Do not feed stray animals. Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks. Feed your pets indoors and do not let them wander.
  • Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies and their shots are up-to-date. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.
  • Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals.
  • Keep wild animals out of homes by capping chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, cellars and porches. Ensure trash cans have tight fitting lids.
  • If you observe any stray animals in the area, contact Chief Animal Control Officer Doug Blanton for assistance at 434-210-1611. Please do not try to trap or handle stray and wild animals.
  • If you are bitten by a wild or stray animal do not panic. Wash the wound(s) thoroughly with warm soapy water and contact animal control, your doctor or the Southside Health District for further recommendations.

For additional information, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/animal-contact-human-health/?tab=3 or call the Southside Health District at 434-738-9557.