A fox with rabies attacked a person in Frederick County on May 19, the Lord Fairfax Health District announced in a Friday news release.
The fox, which died shortly after the attack, was found in the vicinity of Woodfield Lane, southwest of the Round Hill community in Frederick County, the release states. It attacked without provocation and tested positive for rabies.
The Lord Fairfax Health District covers Winchester and the counties of Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Page and Shenandoah.
This is the fifth case of rabies reported in Warren, Frederick and Shenandoah since mid-April.
Rabies isn’t especially common in Virginia, but because untreated cases are fatal, the health department advises residents to vaccinate their pets against rabies, keep vaccinations current, and seek medical attention if they or their pets have contact with a wild or domesticated animal that may be infected with rabies.
Symptoms of rabies don’t begin until the virus has progressed past the point of successful treatment, but early treatment in humans usually results in 100 percent recovery. Treatment involves two vaccinations in the arm on the first day of treatment, and one shot each on days 3, 7 and 14.
The health department recommends people refrain from feeding or having other contact with wild or feral animals and report any strange behavior — such as wild animals acting friendly with humans or normally friendly pets acting aggressively.
Seek immediate treatment following any bites by an unknown animal or an animal suspected of being infected. Rabies is most common in foxes, skunks, bats, raccoons and feral cats but can also infect other mammals, like ferrets, dogs, groundhogs, horses and cows. The virus attacks the nervous system and is spread through saliva.
For more information, call the Frederick/Winchester Health Department at 540-722-3470, visit the Virginia Department of Health at www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/rabies-control, or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/lord-fairfax.