Fox Tested Positive for Rabies in Millsboro - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Fox Tested Positive for Rabies in Millsboro

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MILLSBORO, Del. – The Delaware Division of Public Health says a fox tested positive on Tuesday for rabies after authorities say it bit a person from the Hub Court Mobile Home Park in Millsboro, Delaware.

DPH says it is contacting those known to have come in contact with the fox and are urging they get post-exposure rabies treatment.

DPH says anyone who thinks they may have been bitten, scratched or had saliva contact with any fox in that area should contact their healthcare provider, or call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 888-295-5156.

DPH also says the dog in the recent Newark attack was also tested and was found to be negative for rabies. Health officials say the health care provider for the attack victim has been alerted.
 
DPH reminds residents that rabies is endemic in Delaware. It says residents should always take precautions against rabies by avoiding wild or unfamiliar animals and ensuring their pets are up-to-date with rabies shots.  According to DPH, 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 cannot be cured once symptoms appear. Therefore, DPH says if a person is potentially exposed to an animal that tests positive for rabies, they will have to receive rabies shots to prevent them from developing the disease.

Since January 2014, DPH says it has performed rabies tests on 109 animals, 7 of which were confirmed to be rabid, including this fox.  DPH says it only tests animals for rabies when there is potential human exposure. This means there may be many more infected wild animals than suggested by these numbers.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, signs of rabies in animals include daytime activity in normally nocturnal animals, wild animals approaching humans or other animals, and difficulty walking or moving. Some rabid animals may be very aggressive, while others may be very weak and have excessive salivation. DPH says you should keep people and pets away from animals with any unusual behavior and report stray dogs and cats to First State Animal Center and SPCA at 888-352-7722.

According to DPH, there are some steps you can take to avoid rabies.

  *   Do not feed stray animals.
  *   Never handle wild animals such as bats, raccoons, skunks, or foxes. This includes sick, injured or dead animals.
  *   If you wake up in a room with a bat present, seek medical attention regardless of the evidence of a bite or a scratch and call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 888-295-5156. If possible, trap the bat for testing. Do not release the bat.

*         If bitten by an animal, place the wound under a running tap water and clean it thoroughly using soap for about five minutes.  Exposed mucous membranes should be well rinsed with water. A virucidal antiseptic such as povidone-iodine, iodine tincture, aqueous iodine solution or alcohol (ethanol) should be applied after washing. If there is no profuse bleeding, do not try to close up or stitch the wound. Seek medical attention immediately.

  *   Teach children never to approach or handle unfamiliar domestic or wild animals, even if they appear friendly.   Never leave a child unattended with an animal, no matter how friendly or docile the animal appears.
  *   Keep pet vaccinations up-to-date. Delaware law requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies.
  *   Keep cats and ferrets indoors and dogs on a leash under direct supervision. Homeless pets are vulnerable to rabies. Help reduce unwanted animals by spaying and neutering pets.
  *   Prevent bats and raccoons from entering homes or by capping chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, cellars, and porches. Ensure trash cans have tight latching lids.

By state law, all cats, dogs, and ferrets over the age of six months have to be vaccinated against rabies. DPH says it also recommends vaccinating against other diseases, such as distemper and the parvovirus. DPH also says pet cats in particular, since they can live indoors with proper enrichment and family play time, should be kept indoors for their own safety and well-being.

DPH says you should also never feed wildlife intentionally or unintentionally with unsecured trash. If you care for cats living outdoors, DPH says you should always remove uneaten food after feeding times to reduce the likelihood of wildlife attacks on humans or pets.
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