Suspected rabid fox bites Dover resident

Delaware State News
Posted 8/12/21

DOVER — The Delaware Division of Public Health is advising those who live or spend time near the intersection of Del. 1 and Del. 42 in Dover of a possible case of rabies in a fox that bit a human Monday.

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Suspected rabid fox bites Dover resident

Posted

DOVER — The Delaware Division of Public Health is advising those who live or spend time near the intersection of Del. 1 and Del. 42 in Dover of a possible case of rabies in a fox that bit a human Monday.

The fox was tested for rabies Wednesday, but results were inconclusive. Out of an abundance of caution, DPH is assuming the fox was rabid and advising members of the community to take caution.

DPH also is contacting the individual who was bitten to recommend treatment.

Anyone who may have been bitten, scratched or came in contact with a fox in this area should immediately contact his/her health care provider or call DPH at 744-4995.

Anyone in the area who thinks a fox might have bitten his/her pet should call a veterinarian for examination and treatment and to report the exposure to the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Rabies is a preventable disease. DPH recommends that individuals take the following steps to prevent rabies exposure:

  • All dogs, cats and ferrets 6 months and older are required by law to be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors. It is especially important for pet owners who allow their cats to go outdoors to vaccinate them.
  • Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.
  • Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
  • Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and thus reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.
  • Keep your garbage securely covered.
  • Consider vaccinating livestock and horses, as well.

Since Jan. 1, DPH has performed rabies tests on 107 animals, seven of which were confirmed to be rabid, including two cats, one dog, one raccoon, one skunk and two bats. DPH only announces those rabies cases for which it is possible the animal had contact with additional humans or pets.

In 2020, DPH performed rabies tests on 121 animals, four of which were confirmed to be rabid, including one raccoon, one bat and two cats.

Rabies is an infectious disease affecting the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Infection can occur through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or if saliva from such an animal gets into the eyes, nose, mouth or an opening in the skin.

Rabies in humans and animals cannot be cured once symptoms appear. Therefore, if a human has been exposed, and the animal is unavailable to be tested, DPH recommends post-exposure prophylaxis treatment — a series of four vaccinations — as a precautionary measure.

If anyone encounters a sick stray domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 255-4646.

For more information, visit DPH’s website or call 866-972-9705 or 744-4995.