Rabies alert: wild fox tests positive in Ukiah

A wild fox captured in November has tested positive.

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MENDOCINO CO., 01/02/18 — A wild fox has tested positive for rabies, the Mendocino County Public Health Department announced today. The fox was captured in late November, in the 3700 block of Low Gap Rd., Ukiah, after it was seen behaving strangely, but the test results have only just now been verified and announced.

“If you encounter a wild animal, do not touch it. If you are bit by a wild animal, please seek immediate medical attention,” stated Dr. Constance Caldwell, the Mendocino County Public Health Officer. ”Please contact your veterinarian to make sure your pets are properly vaccinated.”

Rabies is always fatal if not treated. It is carried by a wide variety of wild and domesticated animals and can be transmitted through a bite or by coming in contact with the saliva of an infected animal. Animals infected with rabies may begin to exhibit strange or aggressive behavior. Some behavioral signs of rabies infection include “staggering, restlessness, aggression, a change of the tone of their barks or growls, or choking.”

Bats, skunks, foxes, raccoons, and bobcats are some of the wild animals that commonly carry rabies. Domesticated pets can be given a vaccine to protect against the disease. More information about the disease is available from the California Department of Public Health at this link.

If you are bitten by a strange animal or one suspected of having rabies, wash the wound with soap and water thoroughly and then seek immediate medical attention. County residents are warned not to approach or handle animals are behaving strangely or aggressively, or that seems sickly or might be dead. Instead you should notify Animal Control for domestic animals at (707) 463-4086, and California Department of Fish & Wildlife at (888) 334-2258.

Here’s the full press release from the county:

Wild Fox Tests Positive for Rabies

In late November 2017, a wild fox exhibiting unusual behavior was captured near the 3700 block of Low Gap Road (approximately 4 miles west of Ukiah High School) and tested for rabies. Laboratory results verified that the fox was infected with the rabies virus.

Rabies is a viral disease that can be spread from the bite of a rabid animal or from contact with animal’s saliva. Only prompt post-exposure vaccination can prevent the disease. Without treatment, the disease is fatal.

“If you encounter a wild animal, do not touch it. If you are bit by a wild animal, please seek immediate medical attention,” states Dr. Constance Caldwell, the Mendocino County Public Health Officer. ”Please contact your veterinarian to make sure your pets are properly vaccinated.”

Rabies can occur throughout California. Animals most commonly infected include bats, skunks, foxes, raccoons, and bobcats. Behavioral signs of rabid animals, wild or domestic, may include staggering, restlessness, aggression, a change of the tone of their barks or growls, or choking.

If you or a loved one are bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal or an animal suspected of having rabies, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and then seek medical attention.

If you see a domestic animal that is sick, injured, dead, orphaned or behaving oddly, leave it alone and contact Mendocino County Animal Control at (707) 463-4086. If you see a wild animal that is sick, injured, dead, orphaned or behaving oddly, leave it alone and contact Fish and Wildlife CalTIP at (888) 334-2258. Do NOT handle the animal yourself.

 For additional information on rabies, please visit: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Rabies.aspx

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