Rabies Concerns After Fox Attack

By: Meg Gatto Email
By: Meg Gatto Email

A fox that attacked a three year old Staunton child has tested positive for rabies. It was shot and killed by Staunton Police officers.

Dr. Doug Larsen, director of the Staunton Augusta Health Department, says it's not uncommon to find animals infected with rabies in the Shenandoah Valley.

He says, "The real key here is being aware that we live in an area that we call endemic for rabies. That is, expect every animal that you see that’s a mammal to be rabid."

This latest incident with a child being bitten isn't something you hear about every day even though Larsen says rabid animals will go after anyone or anything.

Larsen adds, "Younger children are more vulnerable because they can't get away. Adults, particularly people who hunt in the woods, often come across animals that will be aggressive, but they're hunters. They're adults and they either have weapons or they have the sense to get out of the way."

Although rabies is incurable, Larsen says if you receive medical treatment after being bitten, your chances of surviving are high.

He says, "It can be prevented, but you cannot cure rabies. Once you get the actual symptoms of rabies, you would be one in a trillion of surviving."

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