(New Hanover County)— A third case of rabies has been confirmed by New Hanover County Animal Control Services. On Monday, ACS officers responded to the area of Yellow Daisy Drive and captured a fox that chased nearby residents and attacked their dog. The owner of the dog and a friend cleaned the dog's wounds, which resulted in their potential exposure. The fox was transported to the State Lab, where officials confirmed the virus on Tuesday.
The residents were notified of the positive results and ACS staff verified a booster rabies vaccine for the exposed dog. Animal control officers will canvass the area to educate the public on the importance of their pets being current with their rabies vaccination.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend animals that are not current on their rabies vaccinations be destroyed. Pets with up to date vaccinations should be re-boostered within five days. Pets should never be handled without protective gloves after being exposed to wildlife, due to the potential for carrying residual saliva from the infected animal. All pets should be vaccinated as a primary defense against the spread of rabies.
There are three primary routes of transmission of the rabies virus, which is carried in the saliva of the infected animal: 1) the primary route of transmission is through a bite which breaks the skin of the victim, 2) salivary contact to an open, fresh wound, or, 3) salivary contact to the mucous membranes of a potential victim.
When dealing with primary rabies vectors (raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats) or unknown animals, such as wildlife, it is recommended that the animal be handled with protective gloves to prevent viral transmission. People should stay away from any animal that they have not been cleared to hold or pet, including owned dogs or cats, and especially wildlife.