June 15, 2015

(Charlottesville, VA) — The Thomas Jefferson Health District reminds people that as we spend more time outdoors in the summer, we increase the risk of exposure to rabid animals.

The most recent exposure in the Thomas Jefferson Health District occurred in early June in Shipman, Nelson County. A resident was attacked by a gray fox. The fox tested positive for rabies infection and the resident underwent post-exposure treatment which includes receiving the rabies vaccine. Additional exposures occurred in Mineral, Louisa County, and Gladstone, Nelson County. The exposed individuals underwent post-exposure treatment which is extremely effective in preventing rabies.

Rabies is a fatal disease. It can be prevented with vaccination, but once symptoms begin, it is rarely cured. To report any suspicious animal please contact the Thomas Jefferson Health District at 434-972-6219 of your local Animal Control Office.
The Thomas Jefferson Health District strongly advises that people take the following steps to prevent families and pets from being exposed to rabies:

  • Vaccinate all cats, dogs and domestic animals against rabies and keep them up to date!
  • Avoid contact with wild animals or stray cats and dogs.
  • Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs.
  • Report stray animals to your local animal control agency.
  • Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home.
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.
  • If you see ill or injured wildlife, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for advice on how to proceed.

For more information concerning rabies, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s Rabies Control and Prevention web site, or call the Thomas Jefferson Health District at 434-972-6219.