CATAWBA CO, NC - A fox that bit a child in Maiden park last week has tested positive for rabies.
Catawba County Animal Services received a call from a residence of east Maiden around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 27, regarding the attack.
The owner of the residence told animal services officers that he and his wife were having a picnic with two of their grandchildren when a fox suddenly ran up and began biting the 3-year-old on both legs.
The fox ran away from the child when the family members began screaming but it tried heading back over soon after. The man shot and killed the fox.
Animal services officers picked up the remains of the fox and sent them to NC Public Health Laboratory to be tested.
The laboratory notified Catawba Co. the fox tested positive for rabies on Wednesday, June 1.
Animal services officers told the family to seek medical attention following the fox's attack.
This is the first rabies case of 2016 for Catawba Co.
Catawba County Animal Services offered the following suggestions to reduce potential exposure to rabies:
- Avoid direct contact with wildlife, dead or alive. Never touch any wildlife with your bare hands. If you find a sick or injured wild animal, call your local animal control agency and let the experts handle it.
- Avoid animals displaying unnatural behavior. Wild animals that are unusually friendly or displaying other unnatural behaviors may have the rabies virus.
- Discourage contact between pets and wildlife. Don’t let your pets roam or encourage them to interact with unfamiliar domestic or wild animals.
- Don’t keep wild animals as pets. Americans keep more than 4.7 million exotic animals, which cannot be vaccinated against rabies, as pets.
- Feed your pets indoors. Leaving food outside often attracts stray dogs, cats and wildlife to your yard.
- Animal-proof your trash. Make sure your trash lids are locked, and don’t leave bags of garbage outside the cans.
- Prevent wild animals from getting into the house. Prune tree branches that overhang the roof. Keep screens on windows and cover small openings, such as chimneys, furnace ducts and eaves.
Animal services says the best way to protect your pets from rabies is to have them properly vaccinated for rabies.
For more information on rabies or rabies vaccinations, you may call Catawba County Animal Services at 828-464-7686.