BERRYVILLE — The Lord Fairfax Health District is warning town residents of a possible rabies risk following the discovery of a rabid fox.
On May 9, the fox was involved in a fight with a pet near Blue Ridge Street in Berryville, according to a health district news release. The fox was captured, euthanized and tested positive for rabies.
“Since this event occurred in town, there is concern that people or other animals may have come in contact with this fox,” Lord Fairfax Health District Director Dr. Colin Greene stated in the release. “It is crucial that any people or domestic animals that came in contact with a fox in that area between April 29 and May 9 should receive a medical evaluation immediately and owners of pets that go outdoors in the area should discuss with their veterinarians whether their animals should have rabies boosters.”
The Lord Fairfax Health District strongly advises that people take the following steps to prevent families and pets from exposure to rabies:
Never approach or touch wild animals, especially any raccoon, fox, skunk, or bat, especially if it is behaving oddly or if it is seen in the daylight. These animals are the main carriers of rabies in the eastern United States.
Avoid stray cats and dogs. Feral or unknown cats and dogs may also carry rabies. Report bites or scratches from these animals to your physician or the Health Department.
Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies — even if they don’t go outdoors — and keep their shots up to date. Rabies vaccinations are available this Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Frederick County Esther Boyd Animal Shelter, 161 Collier Rd, Winchester. The fee is $13.
Livestock owners should discuss vaccinations with their veterinarian.
Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs. Eliminate outdoor food sources near the home.
Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.
If one of your domestic animals is bitten or otherwise interacts with a wild animal, notify the local Health Department and animal control officer at once.
If you are bitten, scratched or licked by any of these animals, seek medical attention immediately. Rabies is fatal to both animals and humans once symptoms begin, but it can be prevented in humans if they receive vaccine and medication soon after exposure.
Those who are in doubt or have questions should call the Clarke County Health Department at 540-955-1033.
Additional information on rabies is available from the Virginia Department of Health at: vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/rabies-control.