Rabid gray fox bites two people in Carroll County

Officials seek others who came into contact

February 09, 2002|By Maria Blackburn | Maria Blackburn,SUN STAFF

A rabid fox bit two people in Westminster on Wednesday night, and Carroll County health officials are asking anyone who came into contact with the animal to come forward.

The fox tested positive for rabies yesterday.

A 44-year-old woman and a 6-year-old boy who live in the 200 block of Montpelier Court were bitten by the gray fox, which had been hiding in the bushes, according to Matt W. Helwig, a sanitarian with the Carroll County Health Department. The victims, whose names were not released and who are not related, called Maryland State Police, who captured the fox and destroyed it.

The victims are now receiving rabies treatment -- a series of five shots, Helwig said. The shots will prevent rabies in humans, but once symptoms of the disease begin, the disease is fatal, officials said.

Although foxes are not uncommon in the area, "it doesn't happen that often that I have wild animals attack humans," Helwig said. More often, people are exposed to rabies when they are in contact with dogs or cats that have been exposed to rabid wild animals, he said.

Since Jan. 1, six animals -- four raccoons and two foxes -- have tested positive for rabies in Carroll.

Anyone who might have been exposed to the fox is advised to contact a family doctor or the Carroll County Health Department at 410-876-1884, or the Emergency Operations Center at 410-386-2260 after 5 p.m.

Anyone who believes a pet might have had contact with the fox is asked to contact a veterinarian or the Carroll County Health Department.

Helwig suggested that residents keep their pets vaccinated, cover their trash cans and feed their animals indoors to protect themselves and their pets from rabies.

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