Local News

Fox accused of biting Durham child tests positive for rabies

Posted June 24, 2009 12:15 p.m. EDT
Updated June 24, 2009 6:11 p.m. EDT

— A fox believed to have bitten a 4-year-old child has tested positive for rabies, Durham County Animal Control officials said Wednesday.

The girl, who was bitten at Westminster School for Young Children on Old Chapel Hill Road on Tuesday, will undergo post-exposure rabies vaccinations, officials said. The series of injections is important in preventing the disease from incubating in the child.

The child was attending the summer camp program and was in the playground at the time of the attack. As a result of the incident, nearby Westminster Presbyterian Church has decided to close through the weekend.



Animal Control officers are working to trap and capture a den of baby foxes living adjacent to the school. Officials said it is believed the foxes are the offspring of the rabid, female fox.

Two of the fox pups were captured in traps Wednesday morning, officials said. There is a risk the pups may also be carrying the rabies virus.

The baby foxes will be euthanized and not released back into the wild.

“We know that we have essentially an epidemic of rabies among wildlife in our region that is rooted in the raccoon population,” said Orange County Animal Service Director Bob Marotto.

Marotto is dealing with three rabies cases in Orange County, all of which occurred on Tuesday.

Two medical center were bitten in Chapel Hill parking lots but what authorities believe was the same fox. That animal tested positive for rabies.

A different fox was picked up by authorities after getting into a fight with two dogs south of Hillsborough on Tuesday. Authorities said that fox also tested positive for rabies. It had no known human contact.

"Fortunately, each of the dogs was currently vaccinated against rabies," Marotto said.

Citizens are warned to stay away from wild animals and refrain from feeding them. Pet owners are also reminded to make sure their animals are vaccinated for rabies.