Rabid fox attacks runner near Umstead

March 17, 2013 8:19:46 AM PDT
A Wake County runner was attacked by a rabid fox Wednesday, and county officials are urging residents to be alert.

Police said the person was attacked in the 2100 block of Harrison Avenue near the back gate to Umstead State Park. The runner started receiving a series of post-exposure exposure anti-rabies vaccinations to prevent them from contracting rabies.

After the attack, the fox was tested by the State Lab and tests confirmed it had rabies.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, health officials encourage people that find themselves spending more time outside to be aware of the dangers.

"We don't want to alarm residents, but they should be aware of this case and of the potential for exposure to themselves, family members and their pets," said Sue Lynn Ledford, Community Health director for Wake County. "If you see wildlife acting unusually, including coming close to human areas, keep your distance and contact animal control."

The warning isn't just for people. It's important for owners to take the necessary steps to protect their pets.

"Vaccinating pets for rabies is critical to help to prevent the spread of disease, and is required by law in North Carolina," said Dr. Jennifer Federico, Animal Services director for Wake County.

Wake County officials urge the following:

  • Residents should not approach animals that they do not know.
  • Residents should ensure their pets have a current rabies vaccination. If a pet is allowed outside, a booster vaccine is recommended. Outdoor pets should be kept inside until they receive booster vaccines.
  • Do not feed stray or unknown animals, including cats and dogs.
  • Do not leave trash or food outside, unless it is in a trash can with a tight-fitting lid.
  • If a pet is fed outside, do not leave food out overnight.
  • Do not leave pets outdoors unattended.

If a pet comes in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact a veterinarian immediately.

To report a stray or an animal acting in an unusual manner:

  • In Wake County (except Cary, Garner, Holly Springs and Raleigh), call 919-856-6911
  • In Cary, call 919-319-4517
  • In Garner, call 919-772-8896
  • In Holly Springs, call 919-557-9111
  • In Raleigh, call 919-831-6311

Wake County will hold its next rabies vaccination and microchip clinic on Saturday, March 23, in Willow Springs. Details can be found on the Wake County Animal Center website. During this clinic rabies vaccines will be available for $5 and microchips will be available for $10.

More information about rabies is available at www.wakegov.com/pets/health/rabies.

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