Mad fox bites Atmore woman unloading groceries:

The Alabama Department of Health has issued a public warning after a rabid fox bit a woman.

“An elderly Atmore resident was returning from grocery shopping and unloading her car. While she was holding a loaf of bread, seemingly out of nowhere, she was attacked and bitten by a fox,” said Dr. Dee W. Jones, State Public Health veterinarian.

The fox was taken to the Alabama Department of Public Health Bureau of Clinical Laboratories, where it was confirmed that it was positive for rabies. Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated.

“Although rabies has been prevalent in wild animals since widespread vaccination of pets began more than 70 years ago, it remains a threat to public health,” Jones said. “While attacks like this by rabid wild animals are relatively uncommon, it highlights the risk that rabies continues to pose and hopefully reminds people to be aware of the risks and continue to vaccinate their pets.”

Alabama law requires dogs, cats and ferrets 12 weeks and older to have a current rabies vaccination. Rabies vaccines are also available for horses and other livestock if recommended by a veterinarian. Vaccinating animals reduces the risk of rabies infection if exposure occurs; officials say vaccinations protect animals, as well as their owners and caregivers.

In addition to vaccination, the health department advises area residents to take the following precautions to prevent possible exposure to rabies:

  • Do not allow pets to run loose. Keep them in a fenced area or on a leash.
  • Do not leave leftover food or scraps from your pet near your home.
  • Do not feed wild animals illegally or keep them as pets.
  • Do not go near wild animals or pets that are behaving strangely or unusually.
  • Warn children not to go near stray or wild animals, regardless of their behavior.

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