Health officials have confirmed the presence of rabies in the Spotswood Furnace Road Area of Spotsylvania County

June 10, 2015

A gray fox found on Thursday, June 4 was tested and confirmed positive for rabies. The fox was found in the Spotswood Furnace Road Area in Spotsylvania County. The Health Department is notifying the public in case anyone – or any pets – may have had contact with a gray fox in that area on or shortly before June 4. If there has been any contact/exposure between humans and/or domestic animals with this fox (or other wild animal) or a domestic animal behaving abnormally, please report this to Spotsylvania Animal Control and the Spotsylvania Health Department.

Any exposed / potentially exposed individuals should seek medical advice promptly to evaluate whether rabies prevention medication is needed. Likewise, please consult your veterinarian if your pet was exposed / possibly exposed to a potentially rabid animal (such as a fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum, etc).

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It is preventable in animals through vaccinations, but is fatal to both animals and humans if left untreated. Exposure to rabies is considered any time there is a bite or scratch, or other circumstance where saliva or Central Nervous System tissue from a rabid or potentially rabid animal enters an open, fresh wound or comes in contact with a mucous membrane by entering the eye, mouth, or nose.

The Code of Virginia requires owners of dogs and cats to maintain current rabies vaccinations for animals four months old and older. In addition, residents should not approach or touch wild animals or unknown domestic animals, and report any abnormal behavior involving these animals. All animal bites and rabies exposures (from both wild and domestic animals) must be reported to Spotsylvania County Animal Control at 540-582-7115.

To prevent the spread of rabies:

  • AVOID contact with wild animals and domestic animals you do not know.
  • REPORT unusual acting animals.
  • VACCINATE all dogs, cats and ferrets and keep their vaccinations current.
  • CALL your doctor and the local health department if you are exposed, or call your veterinarian and local animal control if your pet is exposed.

Vaccinating domestic animals (dogs and cats) also protects people from getting rabies. If the domestic animal population is properly vaccinated, it breaks the transmission cycle of a wild animal infecting a domestic animal (pet), and that animal infecting the pet owner.

While intentions are good, please do not put food out for stray or feral (wild domestic) animals. This will bring domestic and wild animals into close contact where transmission of the rabies virus is more likely to occur. If you have pets that live outside, feed and water them in a manner that does not attract wild animals.