To learn more about rabies and rabies exposure prevention, contact the Fannin County Environmental Health office at 706-632-3024, or log onto the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.
Fannin County Environmental Health officials say a fox that attacked a Morganton, Ga., woman Friday has tested positive for rabies.
Jennifer King, spokeswoman for the North Georgia Health District, said this makes at least the fifth reported incident involving rabies in the northwest corner of Georgia this year.
She ticked off four other reports, including a rabid raccoon in Whitfield County near Dalton, Ga., a rabid kitten in Cherokee County and two rabid dogs in Pickens County.
The fox in Fannin County bit the woman as she walked her dog Friday on Dennis Drive in Morganton, which is northeast of Blue Ridge, Ga.
"We want to urge people to have pets vaccinated against rabies and avoid any animals you're not familiar with, even if they are not acting strangely." King said. "We can't rely on what we think of as typical behavior for rabies. Different animals react differently."
The woman who bitten by the fox has already received the first of a series of post-rabies shots that she will receive during a two-week period, according to a news statement by Environmental Health Specialist Shannon Bradburn.
"She was suddenly hit from behind by the fox, which bit her leg before running away," Bradburn said.
Later that same morning, the victim's mother was terrorized by an aggressive fox. The mother shot and killed the animal, then reported the incident to Animal Control.
On Monday, the hospital notified the Fannin County Environmental Health office of the possible rabies exposure to the woman who had been bitten.
Bradburn said health officials acquired the head of the fox from a local veterinarian and sent it to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory. State officials later that day notified North Georgia health authorities that the fox tested positive for rabies.
King said North Georgia health officials advise residents bitten by a potentially rabid animal to thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water, rinse it for several minutes and seek immediate medical attention.
If a pet is bitten, seek veterinary assistance for the animal right away, officials said.
The health care provider and veterinarian will need to report exposure to local environmental health officials.