NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC -- New Hanover County Animal Control Services authorities have confirmed the eighth case of rabies so far this year. On September 1, a Canterbury Road resident reported she had been attacked and bitten by a fox as she was getting into her car. Later in the evening, neighbors found a deceased fox and notified ACS. The animal was taken to the state lab which confirmed the wild animal was rabid. The victim was notified of the results.
Animals that have a current rabies vaccination at the time of exposure should be re-boostered within five days (new Centers for Disease Control guidelines) of exposure. The CDC recommends unvaccinated pets be destroyed. There are three primary routes of transmission of the rabies virus, which is carried in the saliva of the infected animal: 1) the primary route of transmission is through a bite which breaks the skin of the victim, 2) salivary contact to an open, fresh wound, or, 3) salivary contact to the mucous membranes of a potential victim.
When dealing with primary rabies vectors (raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats) or unknown animals, such as wildlife, it is recommended that the animal be handled with protective gloves to prevent viral transmission. Personal pets should not be handled without protection directly after being exposed to wildlife, due to the potential for carrying residual saliva from the infected animal. People should stay away from any animal that they have not been cleared to hold or pet, including owned dogs or cats, and especially wildlife.