Rabies confirmed in fox in Troup County

Published 9:29 am Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Georgia Public Health Laboratory (GPHL) has confirmed that a fox in Troup County recently tested positive for rabies. Animal control picked up the fox in the 100 block of Lincoln Street in Hogansville after it attacked two people, according to a press release from the Troup County Health Department.

The fox scratched a 10-year-old girl and the child’s mother on the leg as they tried to get away, according to the Hogansville Police Department. The girl’s father grabbed the fox and choked it and later shot the fox. The animal was transported to the Troup Animal Shelter and then later for testing in Auburn, Alabama, according to the Hogansville Police Department. The police were notified by the health department on Thursday that the fox tested positive of rabies.

The health department is encouraging all residents 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 Hayla Folden, District 4 public information officer. “People should avoid animals acting out of character and report it to animal control or 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.

“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. I strongly encourage owners to have all pets vaccinated to prevent rabies,” said Seth Woodrow, county environmental health manager.

There have been four other animals sent in to the GPHL this year in Troup County, with this one fox being positive. 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 Department of Public Health web site at Dph.georgia.gov/rabies or the CDC web site at Ccdc.gov.