Two foxes testing positive for rabies have been found in the same general area of Christiansburg within the past 10 days, marking the fifth laboratory confirmed case of animal rabies in Montgomery County and the twelfth in the New River Health District this year. In May, the City of Radford notified residents a raccoon in Radford tested positive for the rabies virus.
“On Aug. 5, 2023, a fox testing positive for rabies was found in a neighborhood around Blake Drive in Christiansburg,” the NRHD stated. “This is the second confirmed case of animal rabies in Christiansburg within the past week. A few days prior, another fox testing positive for rabies was located in a neighborhood around Dunlap Drive in Christiansburg. In each incident a person was reportedly exposed to the animal.”
The New River Health District asks anyone who may have come into contact with either of the foxes in or around the area of Blake Drive or Dunlap Drive to call the Montgomery County Health Department at 540-585-3300.
Due to the relative proximity and timing of these cases within Christiansburg, the New River Health District wants to remind everyone, and especially pet owners, of the risks of rabies.
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It is almost always fatal, unless preventive treatment is administered before symptoms develop.
“It is important to keep your pets properly vaccinated and to seek medical attention promptly if you or your pet are exposed,” said Dr. Noelle Bissell, director for the New River Health District.
Virginia law requires that all dogs and cats four months of age and older be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian, and that vaccinations be kept current.
Additional steps to protect against rabies exposure:
Do not feed stray animals. Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks. Feed your pets indoors and do not let them wander.
Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies and their shots are up to date. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.
Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.
Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals.
Keep wild animals out of homes by capping chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, cellars and porches. Ensure trash cans have tight fitting lids.
Do not try to trap or handle stray and wild animals.
If you are bitten by a wild or stray animal, do not panic. Wash the wound(s) thoroughly with warm soapy water and contact animal control, your doctor or the Montgomery County Health Department for further recommendations.
For additional information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/animal-contact-human-health/ or call the Montgomery County Health Department at 540-585-3300.