A fox discovered on property on Roberts Road in Newport has tested positive for rabies, according to a release from the Carteret County Health Department.
The property owner called animal control on Thursday morning about the fox. The N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health tested the remains of the fox and the test came back positive for rabies.
According to the release, the family dog had been in the yard for a short time before the owner became aware of the fox. The dog did not appear to have been bitten or scratched by the fox and had been vaccinated against rabies.
Residents in that area are advised to watch for other rabid animals and to make sure their dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations, according to the release.
Rabies is a life-threatening viral disease passed by contact with the saliva of an infected animal. The virus can enter through an open wound or through the tissue of the eyes, nose or mouth. When rabies enters the body, the virus attacks the brain or spinal cord.
“You can’t always tell if an animal has rabies, so it’s best to be cautious around any animal that you are not familiar with,” Curtis Oden, supervisor of Carteret County Animal Control, said in the release. “An infected animal will eventually show symptoms of rabies: losing their fear of people, becoming aggressive, staggering and even becoming paralyzed. Wild animals that are the main concern are raccoons, fox and bats.”
If bitten or scratched by an animal, it is vital to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, seek immediate medical care and report the bite to local animal control. In Havelock, possibly rabid animals can be reported to Havelock police at 447-3212. In Carteret County, call animal control at 728-8585.
If a pet has been in a fight with a wild animal or another domestic animal, wear gloves or use some other type of barrier in handling the animal to avoid coming into contact with saliva.
To lessen the risk of exposure, vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies, keep pets under supervision and do not handle or feed wild animals or strays. State law requires rabies vaccine for pets.