THOMASVILLE — In mid-October, a fox that tested positive for rabies was killed on Dixon Lane near Fletcher Street and the Second Presbyterian Church, according Thomas County Health Department Environmental Health Manager Spencer Bowen.

He said the fox attacked an adult, who is undergoing a course of action to prevent the disease.

“Other foxes have been sighted in the area. We want people to be aware the foxes are there and to be cautious,” Bowen said. “Please keep your animals inside whenever possible and avoid approaching any wild animals.”

Rabies is endemic, or common, in Southwest Georgia’s wild animal population, he pointed out. 

“Consequently, during any encounter, there is the possibility of rabies exposure,” Bowen said. 

If untreated in humans, rabies is almost always fatal.

“We are concerned about people being exposed to the rabies virus through pets whose vaccinations are not up to date, through stray animals that have not been vaccinated and through wild animals, any of which could catch the infection and pass it along through their saliva,” Bowen said.

Anyone bitten or scratched by wild animals or strays should seek immediate medical attention and contact the Thomas County Environmental Health Department and law enforcement.

“You should not attempt to catch the animal yourself. The authorities will handle that so that it can be tested for rabies,” Bowen said.

Georgia law requires dogs and cats three months old and older to be vaccinated against rabies. Pet ferrets also should receive rabies inoculations, as should susceptible livestock, Bowen said.

For more information about rabies, contact the Thomas County Environmental Health Department at (229) 226-4241 or go on-line to www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org.

 

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