Rabid foxes attacked three people in a North Carolina town, and now residents are being warned to avoid wildlife, officials said.
Pet owners also are urged to take steps to protect their furry friends after the rabid animals were captured within about 4 miles of each other.
Randolph County Public Health told McClatchy News in an Aug. 8 email that the attacks happened on separate occasions during July in Archdale. The city of roughly 12,000 people is about 20 miles southwest of Greensboro.
“All of these foxes have been found and killed,” the health department wrote Aug. 5 in a public service announcement.
The foxes — which were tracked down in the Fernwood, Kreamer and West White Drive areas of Archdale — tested positive for rabies, officials said.
After the attacks, Randolph County has urged residents to steer clear of wildlife, including animals that approach them.
Rabies is a disease that impacts the nervous system and causes about one to two deaths in the United States a year. Signs may include fever-like symptoms and itchiness before progressing into confusion, anxiety, hallucinations or other reactions, health officials said.
“You can only get rabies by coming in contact with the saliva, tears or brain/nervous system tissue of an infected animal — for example, if you are bitten by a rabid animal, handle a pet that has been attacked by a rabid animal such as a fox, or are cleaning a dead animal you have killed while hunting,” the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services wrote on its website.
If you think you might have been exposed to rabies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cleaning your wounds right away and seeking medical help.
In addition to keeping residents safe, Randolph County officials shared tips for pet owners:
Keep pets up to date on rabies vaccines.
Feed pets inside the house.
Keep an eye on pets when they go outside.
Anyone who spots Randolph County animals that are sick, hurt or stray is urged to call 336-683-8235.