Orange County reaches 17 rabies cases for 2014

Aug. 06, 2014 @ 05:11 PM

Orange County Animal Services has received its 16th and 17th positive rabies test results of the year, according to the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. These most recent incidents involved a fox and a bat. The county recorded 12 positive cases last year and also in 2012.

The first case originated Saturday when a Carrboro resident witnessed his pet duck being attacked by a gray fox on his property. The resident used a shovel to rescue the duck from the fox attack. The fox charged at the resident before fleeing the area. The next day, a different resident from the same neighborhood reported finding a dead fox in the road, in close proximity to the previous attack. It is believed to be the same fox. The fox was reported to Animal Control and was removed for testing.

The second case originated Sunday when a Carrboro resident spotted a bat on the ground outside of her property while walking her dog. The dog nosed at the bat and it moved, but the bat died on its own shortly after. The owner pulled her dog away but could not say for sure whether the dog made physical contact with the bat. An Animal Control Officer arrived and removed the deceased bat for testing.

A nurse from the Orange County Health Department will contact those involved to evaluate whether there is a risk of human rabies exposure. Of concern in the cases is the possibility of secondary exposure from the residents handling their pets after the incident. As is always the case, a decision about the post-exposure prophylaxis that protects people from rabies is based upon an assessment of all the factors involved in this type situation.

The dog involved in this case was currently vaccinated against rabies and will only have to receive a booster shot pursuant to North Carolina’s rabies laws. 

“Awareness and prevention are always important, but especially given the current upswing in rabies cases in Orange County,” said Animal Services Director, Bob Marotto. “Pet owners need to be absolutely sure that their dogs, cats and ferrets are currently vaccinated against rabies and do not have opportunities to come into contact with wildlife.”