CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — The Blue Ridge Health District and Louisa County Animal Control are calling for pet owners to keep their pets up to date on vaccinations after a gray fox tested positive for rabies in the Thelma area.

The fox was found in the area of Paddock Wood Road Route 686, on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. It was then sent for rabies testing and the results came back positive on March 31, 2022.

Rabies is a deadly disease that is 100% fatal in humans and animals once symptoms begin. But fatalities can be prevented with the proper treatment immediately after exposure.

Anyone in the community that may have received a bite or scratch, or was otherwise exposed to the saliva from a fox around March 29 is encouraged to call the Louisa County Environmental Health office at 540-967-3707 and report a potential rabies exposure.

Louisa County Animal Control recommends taking these steps to protect families and pets from exposure to rabies:

  • Vaccinate pets. Virginia law requires domestic animals to be vaccinated against rabies
  • Avoid contact with wild animals, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, or stray cats and dogs
  • Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs
  • Report stray animals to your local animal control agency
  • Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash

For more information visit the Virginia Department of Health website, here.