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Rabid animals bite two people

by Tom Chillemi

Two individuals are undergoing treatment after being bitten by rabid wild animals last week, reported Middlesex Chief Animal Warden Ricky Warren.

After dark on August 29, a raccoon wandered into a yard on Old Courthouse Road near Cooks Corner. The resident’s dogs got into a fight with the raccoon. The dog owner broke up the fight but didn’t realize the raccoon was still alive and it bit her, said Warren.

The raccoon was killed and tested positive for rabies. The woman has started a series of injections to prevent rabies, said Warren, who added both dogs had valid rabies vaccinations.

The following morning on August 30, Warren was at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office when a man came to the office to report he had been bitten by a fox. The man had been working at the parsonage at Saluda Baptist Church.

Warren said the man explained the fox had been in a boxwood bush, ran out and bit him on the ankle, and then ran back into the bush.

The bite victim said he didn’t have a ride to the hospital and was transported to Riverside Walter Reed Hospital by the Central Middlesex Volunteer Rescue Squad of Urbanna.

Warren shot the fox as it was hiding in the bush.

Virginia Health Department officials directed that the fox bite victim start treatment for rabies exposure without waiting for the test results.

Later, it was confirmed the fox had rabies, said Warren.

Another wild animal incident occurred on August 28 in Saluda at a residence on Business Route 17, about a quarter-mile west of the church. A fox that had been eating figs, ran at the resident who kicked it. The fox ran away.

Rabid animals normally do not eat, Warren explained. Because the fox was eating, it is an indication that it may not have been rabid, he said.

Warren reminds pet owners that dogs and cats must be vaccinated for rabies if they are 4 months of age or older.

Feral cats, he noted, are one of the largest carriers of rabies.

Rabies is carried in the saliva of infected animals, he added.

posted 09.04.2013

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