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Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Date: October 1, 2014
DOVER (September 30, 2014) - Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) is warning residents of the Hub Court Mobile Home Park just off Route 113 in Millsboro about a fox that tested positive for rabies at the DPH Lab on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. The fox bit an individual from this community before being caught and tested for rabies.
DPH is contacting those known to have come in contact with the fox and urging they get post-exposure rabies treatment. Anyone who thinks they may have been bitten, scratched or had saliva contact with any fox in that area should contact their healthcare provider, or call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 888-295-5156.
In additional news, the dog in the recent Newark attack was also tested and was found to be negative for rabies. The health care provider for the attack victim has been alerted.
DPH reminds residents that rabies is endemic in Delaware. Residents should always take precautions against rabies by avoiding wild or unfamiliar animals and ensuring their pets are up-to-date with rabies shots.
Infection can occur through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or if saliva from such an animal gets into the eyes, nose, mouth or an opening in the skin. Rabies cannot be cured once symptoms appear. Therefore if a person is potentially exposed to an animal that tests positive for rabies, they will have to receive rabies shots (post exposure prophylaxis) to prevent them from developing the disease.
Since January 2014, DPH has performed rabies tests on 109 animals, 7 of which were confirmed to be rabid, including this fox. DPH only tests animals for rabies when there is potential human exposure. This means there may be many more infected wild animals than suggested by these numbers.
Signs of rabies in animals include daytime activity in normally nocturnal animals, wild animals approaching humans or other animals, and difficulty walking or moving. Some rabid animals may be very aggressive while others may be very weak and have excessive salivation. Keep people and pets away from animals with any unusual behavior. Report stray dogs and cats to First State Animal Center and SPCA at 888-352-7722.
Take the following steps to avoid rabies:
In an effort to promote 100 percent vaccination of all companion animals in Delaware, decrease human-wildlife conflicts, and promote responsible pet care-taking, DPH also recommends the following:
If you need additional information, contact the Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 888-295-5156.
Individuals seeking TTY services should call 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460. A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can use a TTY to type his/her conversation to a relay operator, who then reads the typed conversation to a hearing person at the DPH call center. The relay operator relays the hearing person's spoken words by typing them back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.