Rabid fox found in Russell County - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Rabid fox found in Russell County

RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. (NEWS RELEASE) – A fox collected July 31, 2013, on South 71 in the Castlewood area of Russell County has tested positive for rabies. This is the fifth confirmed case of animal rabies in Russell County and in the Cumberland Plateau Health District this year.

"This year we have seen an increase of confirmed wild animal rabies cases in Russell County," said Brian Stanley, environmental health manager for the Cumberland Plateau Health District. "The location of this rabid fox is concerning due to its location being further southwest than the northeastern portion of Russell County where we are used to seeing rabid animals in the past." Confirmed rabid animals have also been identified in the Belfast and the Poor Farm areas of Russell County this year.

Anyone who may have been exposed to a suspected rabid animal, who has pets that may have been exposed to a suspected rabid animal or who knows of any possible exposures should immediately notify the Russell County Health Department at 276-889-7621 or Russell County Animal Control at

The rabies virus is found mainly in the saliva and brain tissue of infected animals. It is most often transmitted when an infected animal bites another animal or human and the saliva gets into the wound.

"Rabies can be prevented in humans who have been exposed to the virus with appropriate post-exposure treatment, but once symptoms develop it is almost always fatal," said Melody Counts, M.D., director for the Cumberland Plateau Health District. "We must begin treatment immediately if people have been exposed."

"The best way to prevent the spread of rabies is to vaccinate your dogs and cats, plus ferrets and livestock, and keep those vaccinations up to date," said Brian Stanley. Virginia law requires that all dogs and cats four months of age and older are vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian, and that vaccinations are kept current.

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