Two people reportedly exposed to rabid foxes in Christiansburg

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Two foxes found in the same general area of Christiansburg have tested positive for rabies, according to the New River Health District.

On Aug. 5, one of the foxes was found in a neighborhood around Blake Drive, officials said. Just a few days before that, we’re told the other fox was found in a neighborhood around Dunlap Drive.

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In each case, a person was reportedly exposed to the animal, according to NRHD officials.

Officials said the encounter on Aug. 5 marks the fifth lab-confirmed case of animal rabies in Montgomery County this year so far.

Because of the relative proximity and timing of these two cases, health officials are reminding everyone – especially pet owners – of the risks associated with rabies. Officials said the disease is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system and is almost always deadly unless preventive treatment is administered before symptoms develop.

“It is important to keep your pets properly vaccinated and to seek medical attention promptly if you or your pet are exposed,” said Dr. Noelle Bissell, director of the New River Health District.

And, officials said Virginia law requires the owner of all dogs and cats four months of age and older to have the pets vaccinated for rabies. You can read more here.

The New River Health District offered the following tips to help prevent rabies exposure:

  • Do not feed stray animals.
  • Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, and skunks.
  • Feed your pets indoors and do not let them wander.
  • Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies and their shots are up to date.
  • Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.
  • Do not handle sick, injured, or dead animals.
  • Keep wild animals out of homes by capping chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, cellars, and porches.
  • Ensure trash cans have tight-fitting lids.
  • Do not try to trap or handle stray and wild animals.
  • If you are bitten by a wild or stray animal, do not panic. Wash the wound(s) thoroughly with warm soapy water and contact animal control, your doctor, or your local health department for further recommendations.

If you think you’ve come into contact with either one of the foxes, officials ask that you call the Montgomery County Health Department at 540-585-3300. You can find more information here, or call the Montgomery County Health Department at 540-585-3300.

About the Author:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.