Rabid fox found in Brewton
A rabid fox has been found in Brewton, and now public health officials are warning residents to take precautions.
Casey Grant with the Escambia County Health Department said the gray fox tested positive for rabies and was found in a residential area on May 26.
“This is the first rabid animal to be found in Escambia County in several years,” Grant said. “The biggest concern is that a rabid animal may come into contact with a human, their pets or livestock.”
Grant said raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks are most often responsible for transmitting the virus to domesticated animals and humans.
“The rabies virus can infect all mammals, including man, and is always considered to be fatal unless preventive treatment is given following the bite,” he said. “Virus transmission generally occurs through saliva from an infected animals. The primary means of exposure is from a bite or scratch, but exposure is also possible if infected saliva contacts the mucous membranes of the eye or mouth.”
State health officials encourage residents who receive a bite or scratch to wash the wound thoroughly under running water, immediately seek medical attention and report the incident to the county health department.
Here are some times to help avoid exposure to the rabies virus:
• Do not allow pets to run loose; confine them within a fenced-in area or with a leash;
• Do not leave out uneaten pet food or scraps around your house;
• Avoid domestic and wild animals that are acting in an unusual manner;
• Teach children to stay away from animals that are hurt or unknown to them;
• Instruct children to avoid approaching any wild animal; and,
• Advise children to tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by any animal.
Avoiding direct contact with wildlife is the primary protection from rabies, Grant said.
“In addition, vaccinating domesticated animals also reduces the risk of exposure to rabies,” he said. “Rabies vaccinations not only protects the animals from rabies, but it also helps protect the owners, family members and other pets as well.”
State law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets must be kept current with rabies vaccinations.
Dr. Bagwell with Brewton Animal Clinic will host his annual traveling rabies vaccination clinic Saturday.