A rabid fox attacked two people in separate incidents in an eastern North Carolina county, health officials said.
Brunswick County Health Services said in a press release on Friday, June 24 that a fox is believed to have attacked two people in the western part of the county. tested positive for rabies after being captured and euthanized.
Both people who were attacked are being given “the necessary rabies vaccinations,” officials said.
“Health services and the Animal Protection Division of the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office are working together to investigate the incidents and educate the community about proactive safety measures they can take wherever they live in the county,” the press release said.
Both are common in all 100 counties, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, but only the gray fox is native to the state. Sightings of the animals are more common because of the “abundance of food and burrows available to foxes in suburban environments.”
Fox attacks on humans are rare, the committee says.
But “any mammal can transmit rabies,” and health officials recommend taking steps to protect yourself and pets from “potentially rabid:”
Keep pets up to date with their rabies vaccinations. In North Carolina, dogs, cats and ferrets are required by law to be vaccinated when they are 4 months old.
Supervise pets and keep them on a lead when outside.
Do not feed pets outside as this attracts animals.
Do not feed wild animals.
Keep trash cans safe with nature-resistant lids.
Leave young wildlife alone and contact a professional if “you find a juvenile that seems to need help”.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal that could have rabies, health officials say you should “clean the wound well with soap and running water for 15 minutes and contact your doctor.” Your doctor will decide if you need any rabies vaccinations.
“Don’t try to catch a wild animal that bites or scratches you. Immediately call animal control to detain the animal for rabies testing,” officials said. “If the animal is someone’s pet, ask for the owner’s name and address and give it to the animal controller.”