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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County Health Department says a rabid fox bit three people at Oak Island recently.

The Health Department says a man was working in his yard Sunday and felt something brush up against him and bite him. He looked down and saw it was a fox. The fox then ran to his neighbor’s garage, where a husband and wife were working. The fox attacked the wife and bit her three times. It then bit the husband once.

The first man heard the couple screaming in their garage, got his gun, ran to them, and shot the fox. No pets were involved in the incident.

Brunswick County Animal Services got the fox from Oak Island Police and sent it to the State Lab for testing. The results came back positive for rabies today.

All three of the people had already started post exposure treatment for rabies and will now continue treatment.

“We encourage people, especially pet owners, to report animals acting suspiciously,” Brunswick County Health Director David Stanley said in a news release. “Also make sure all your pets are current on all vaccinations.”

Rabies is caused by a virus that lives in the saliva of a rabid animal. Rabies is usually transmitted through an animal bite but it is also possible to be exposed to it if the animal’s saliva gets into a cut on your skin or in your eyes, nose, or mouth. All mammals, including people, can become infected with rabies but the four main animals that carry rabies are raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. You can not tell for sure if an animal has rabies just by looking. You should never try to touch or feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs.

To avoid exposure to rabies, the public is cautioned to do 3 things:
1. Make sure all pets (cats and dogs) have been vaccinated and keep the vaccinations current,
2. Do not harbor or feed stray dogs and cats. This provides a possible means of transmission of the rabies virus from wildlife (raccoons and foxes, etc.) to human beings and,
3. Report and seek treatment for all animal bites (legally required).

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