Rabid fox attacks dog and owner in Orange County


By Michelle Cassell
Assignment Editor

ORANGE COUNTY — Orange County Animal Services has received a positive rabies test on a fox that attacked a Hillsborough resident and their dog.

The attack occurred on Schley Road in Hillsborough on Sunday, and contacted Orange County Animal Services. The animal was tested for rabies and returned a positive result Tuesday.

A fox behaving aggressively toward humans is not normal. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission  resources notes  “Fox attacks on people, including children, are rare. While it is in a fox’s nature to be curious and even bold sometimes, they are not aggressive.”

Seeing animals during the day time is common, but animal services notes residents should look out for symptoms like lethargy, weakness in the hind legs, paralysis and aggression when encountering a potential rabies carrier like a fox.

Animal services are available from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 919-942-7386, menu option 1. In the case of an emergency, dial 911. 8 am – 5 pm, at 919-942-7387, menu option 1.

For any possible exposure of humans to rabies, a communicable disease nurse from the Orange County Health Department evaluates the risk of rabies exposure and a decision on post-exposure treatments is based on the facts of each case.

A press release from Orange County Animal services advises to make sure your pets are current on their rabies vaccinations. It is important for the health of your family and your pets. Rabies is a fatal viral infection. Your veterinarian is the best source of information on vaccinations for your pet. You may review the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention for more rabies information.

Common rabies carriers are meat-eating animals like raccoons, skunks, foxes, cats and coyotes. Bats are also a common carrier, and the most common cause of rabies in humans in the United States. It is critical to seek treatment after an exposure to a rabies carrier because the virus is almost always fatal once symptoms appear.

For more information on rabies prevention and care in the state, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services maintains a comprehensive list of resources.

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