A fox that attacked a person and pets in Autauga County in April tested positive for rabies, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).
The attack happened on Monday, April 25, near Wood Valley Ridge, off of Highway 31 north of Prattville.
This is the first rabies case confirmed in Autauga County this year. Last year, two cats in Prattville were confirmed to have rabies.
"In the past, we have had multiple instances of foxes attacking people in other areas of the state, and it is very possible that because of the communal nature of foxes, it is entirely likely that there may be additional positive foxes found within the geographical proximity to this one," Dr. Dee W Jones, a state public health veterinarian, said.
Jones said that contact with a rabid wild animal is rare for humans but much more common for domesticated animals.
The ADPH has advised the exposed individuals to seek medical attention and advised the pets receive a booster rabies vaccination.
Jones said additional testing is being performed so that the rabies strain can be determined. However, it is expected to be the raccoon strain, which is typical for terrestrial animals in Alabama.
How to prevent rabies from spreading
According to Alabama law, dogs, cats and ferrets must be current with rabies vaccinations if older than 12 weeks.
Area residents are also advised to confine pets to a fenced-in area or a leash, not to leave pet food or scraps laying around near their residence, not to illegally feed or keep wildlife as pets, not to approach animals if they are acting strangely and to caution children to not approach wild animals, regardless of the circumstances.
Autauga County rabies officer Dr. Allison Trotter will be providing vaccinations for a reduced fee of $12 per animal until May 7 at multiple locations in the county. For more information, please contact her at 334-365-7543.
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