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The Mount Rogers Health District reports that a local resident is receiving treatment for rabies following exposure to a rabid fox in Grayson County.
The report does not identify the person.
According to the report issued this week, the Grayson County Health Department received lab confirmation of rabies on June 12.
In addition to the human victim, the report says a dog that fought with the fox has been given a rabies booster and will be under observation. The dog was up-to-date on its rabies vaccination.
“We want to remind everyone that rabies is commonly found in wild animals and in pets throughout the Mount Rogers Health District and across Virginia,” said Ed Ritterbusch, district environmental health supervisor, in the report. “The possibility of people and pets being exposed to this deadly disease is even more of a concern in populated areas such as towns, so it’s critical to protect your family and your pets against exposures, and help to limit the spread of rabies.”
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system. Animals that are sick with rabies shed the virus in their saliva, so any animal bite should be taken seriously. The disease is almost always fatal, but there is a vaccine to prevent it when a bite occurs.
“If you are bitten, wash the wound immediately with soap and water. Call your physician, local health department or animal control agency immediately,” the report said.
To limit potential exposure, keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for pets and selected livestock, health officials said.
Never approach wild or stray animals or leave pet food or garbage outside.
Keep your animals on your property and if your animal is attacked or bitten by a wild or stray animal, report it to your local health or animal control authorities.
Do not keep wild animals as pets, health officials caution. “Enjoy them from a distance, even if they seem friendly. A rabid animal sometimes acts tame.”
• For questions about rabies protection or possible exposures, contact your local health department or the Mount Rogers Health District at (276) 781-7450. For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s Rabies Control and Prevention website at www.vdh.state.va.us/epi/rabiesf.htm/.