The Georgia Public Health Laboratory has confirmed a fox has tested positive for rabies after biting a resident on June 30 near Lepard and Glenloch roads in Roopville.
The resident is the third person to be bitten by a rabid fox in Carroll County in the last six weeks. The Carroll County Animal Control Office previously retrieved two foxes on May 20 and May 27 within 0.2 miles from each other in the vicinity of Highway 78, Villa Rica, and Old Villa Rica Road, Temple.
The county’s Animal Control Office sent the fox in the June 30 incident to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory to be tested. The victim was notified after the fox tested positive and was encouraged to begin Post Exposure Prophylaxis to prevent human rabies.
All residents are encouraged to take precautions to protect their families and pets against rabies by learning signs of rabies and vaccinating pets.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals that is most often spread through the bite of an animal that is infected with the disease. Rabies infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy (a disease of the brain) and, ultimately, death. Early symptoms of the disease include fever and headache.
As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, a slight or partial paralysis, hyper salivation, and/or difficulty swallowing.
“If you notice a wild or nocturnal animal moving about in the daytime and the animal appears to show no fear of people or the animal seems to behave in a sick or abnormal way, the animal may be infected with rabies,” said Melinda Knight, District 4 Public Health’s environmental health director. “People should avoid animals acting out of character and report it to animal control or their local environmental health office.”
Treatment and prevention practices for rabies have proven to be almost 100 percent effective when initiated promptly. Please report any bite, scratch, or other contact with a wild animal to your local environmental health office.
Seth Woodrow, District 4’s environmental health deputy director, said he encourages everyone to have all pets vaccinated to prevent rabies.
“It is important to remember that although rabies occurs more often in wildlife, domestic animals like the family dog or cat can become infected as well,” he said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of rabies cases reported annually occur in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats.
For more information about rabies, please contact your local animal control office, county environmental health office, or visit the Georgia Division of Public Health at www.dph.georgia.gov/rabies or the CDC at www.cdc.gov/rabies.
Please contact the Carroll County Animal Control Office for more information at (770) 834-8150 or the Carroll County Environmental Health Office at (770) 836-6781.