A fox that bit three people and a small dog in the Duke Park neighborhood last weekend was rabid, the state confirmed Tuesday.
It was the third confirmed rabies case in Durham County in May and so far in 2016. The county had 10 confirmed cases of rabies in 2015.
Nikos Chremos, an interpreter and translator, and his wife let their two chihuahua-terrier mixes out in their West Markham Avenue backyard Saturday night when a fox came out from under a neighbor’s shed and attacked one of the dogs.
Chremos got the fox off his dog and put the dogs in the house, but the fox remained in the yard.
“My wife and I walked out and when my wife came within 15 feet of it, it leaped at her,” he said.
“She batted it off and I got a sweatshirt out of my truck bed and as I walked up, it attacked me and I wrapped it up and tossed it into a dog crate that I had in the back yard,” he said.
The fox was “messed up,” he said. “It was just attacking everything in sight.”
It died soon after Chremos put it in the crate.
The same fox is suspected of biting a third person the night before in the 1300 block of Glendale Avenue, Durham County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tamara Gibbs said.
All three people are receiving post-exposure treatment. Chremos said they have to get a series of four shots in the shoulder over two weeks.
The dog that was bitten was current on its rabies vaccination and got a booster shot, he said.
By state law, pets that are up to date on their vaccination have to get a rabies booster shot within five days. An animal that is unvaccinated or whose vaccination has lapsed, must be killed or quarantined for up to six months at the owner’s expense.
In the other two Durham County cases
▪ May 1 – Two dogs found a dead raccoon and brought the animal back to their home in the 2300 block of Glendale Avenue. Both dogs had current rabies vaccinations.
▪ May 16 – A homeowner found a dead raccoon on his lawn in the 2900 block of Tavistock Drive. The homeowner picked up the animal and placed it in a trash bag. Because the homeowner made contact with the animal, he received post-exposure rabies treatment as a precaution.
The Durham County Department of Public Health works with the Animal Services division of the Sheriff’s Office and the Animal Protection Society (APS) of Durham to investigate suspected cases of rabies in animals and potential rabies exposures in humans.
The most common mode of rabies virus transmission is through the bite and virus-containing saliva of an infected animal.
Officials urge these tips to prevent exposure to rabies through wild animals:
▪ Never approach, handle, or feed wild or stray animals.
▪ Do not leave pets unattended or allow them to roam free.
▪ If you see a wild animal that is behaving abnormally or appears injured or in distress, do not approach or handle it. Call Durham County Animal Services immediately at 919-560-0900.
$10 rabies shots
The Durham County Sheriff’s Office offers $10 one-year rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon and and from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Animal Services office at 3005 Glenn Road.