Columbia County, N.Y.–Columbia County Health Officials put out a warning after a fox attacked and bit a boy in Stockport on January the 23rd.
According to Columbia County Public Health Sanitarian Ed Coons, two eight-year-olds were playing in the woods when they came across a fox den. When the boys saw a fox they turned around and ran. The boy in the rear fell and the fox bit him in the leg deep enough to warrant post exposure rabies treatment; a series of 4 shots given over a 14 day period intra-muscularly in the upper arm. The shots used to be administered every day for a 21 day period into the abdominal muscles. The fox was not caught so officials could not be sure if it was rabid.
“Though you should not live your life in fear, be aware of your surroundings,” warns Coons. “Most of the wild terrestrial animals are nocturnal; feed at night, and the attack occurred at 9:00 a.m., so seeing them out in the day is cause for alarm at this time of the year.”
On January 25th, a dog was attacked by a raccoon in a residential neighborhood in Elizaville. The dog owner responded by trying to pull the raccoon off of the dog and was scratched during the scuffle. Another neighbor grabbed a rake and hit the raccoon killing it. The raccoon tested positive for rabies. Without knowing if the man was scratched by the raccoon or the dog, the man needed to receive post rabies treatment, according to Coons. The dog was not up to date on it’s shots so it needed treatment and to be quarantined for 6 months.
“Having two incidents within a three day period is very rare,” says Coons, “this is breeding season.”
Coons describes another incident involving a rabid skunk: “There was an incident that occurred a few years back where a dog in kennel was attacked by a rabid skunk that actually climbed the 6 foot tall chain link fence to go after the dog.” News10 asked, “Was the skunk going after the dog?” “Yes…the animal was shedding the virus and seeking to bite to keep the virus going…once they become clinical they no longer eat or drink and just look to bite,” says Coons.
The 2010 Rabies Clinics are beginning in March and they are free to Columbia County residents, according to Coons, who offers this advice, “Keep you pet’s vaccinations current, especially since there free.”