ACCOMAC — Recent attacks by rabid foxes near the towns of Bloxom and Onley are reminders that residents must all keep a heightened sense of awareness regarding this deadly disease, authorities say.
So far this year there have been eight laboratory confirmed cases of rabies on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the Eastern Shore Health District is reporting.
Seven of these cases were in Accomack, near the towns of Bloxom, Hallwood, Melfa, and Onley. In Northampton County there has been one case this year near the town of Franktown.Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that is present in the saliva of infected animals. Rabies is spread when the virus enters a fresh open wound, or through exposure of a mucous membrane of the nose, eye, or mouth.
Rabies is now endemic in our raccoon population with spillover into other species. High risk species include raccoons, foxes, skunks, cats, and bats.
The most important things citizens can do to protect themselves against rabies include:
Keep all pets vaccinated against rabies, be sure to keep vaccinations current;
Keep your pets on property;
Avoid contact with stray or unknown pets, and avoid contact with wildlife;
Report all animal bites to humans or pets to your local health department or a county sheriff's department;
Contact the Accomack County Health Department at 757-824-5886, ext. 3 during regular hours and ext. 255 during evenings and weekends.
Contact the Northampton County Health Department at 757-442-6228, ext. 3 during regular hours and ext. 266 during evenings and weekends).
Contact the Accomack County Sheriff at 757-824-5666 or 757-787-1131.
Contact the Northampton County Sheriff at 757-678-0458.