May 5, 2022
Media Contact: Kim Foster, MHA, email@example.com
Bedford County Rabies Incident
The Central Virginia Health District has received confirmation that a fox which bit a person on Stone Mountain Road in Bedford County has tested positive for rabies. The person who was bitten will be receiving medical treatment to prevent rabies. Treatment to prevent rabies given after exposure is highly successful when started soon after the exposure. The patient is expected to be fine.
This incident is a reminder that rabies is present in wild animals in the area. Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system and is lethal if proper medical care is not given following an exposure to the virus.
The most common source of exposure to rabies is a bite by a rabid animal. Rabies may also be transmitted if saliva from a rabid animal coming into contact with open wounds, the mouth, eyes or nose.
Everyone should take commonsense measures to protect themselves and their domestic animals from rabies.
Pet owners should keep their pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. 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. It is important to avoid contact with wild or stray animals, and parents should be sure that their children are taught to not touch, pet or otherwise handle unknown animals.
Additional steps that can be taken to prevent rabies in people and pets include:
- Do not feed stray animals. Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks. Feed your pets indoors and do not let them wander.
- Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.
- Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals. Contact a licensed wildlife rehabber if you have concerns about sick or injured wildlife.
- 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.
- Do not try to trap or handle stray and wild animals. If a bat is found indoors and may have had contact with someone, do not release it. Call 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 do not panic. Wash the wound(s) thoroughly with warm soapy water and contact animal control, your doctor or the health department for further recommendations.