UPDATE: Health officials have apologized for sending out inaccurate information Wednesday afternoon about a rabid fox on the loose in Williamsburg. The fox was not loose, but rather, captured and tested positive for the rabies virus.
Health officials have confirmed a gray fox, captured in the area of the 100 block of Indian Circle off Pocahontas Trail, has tested positive for the rabies virus, Gary Hagy, environment health manager for the Peninsula Health District said Thursday morning.
Residents who may have information regarding any exposure to this animal (bite, scratch or contact with saliva by open wound or eyes, nose, mouth) are asked to contact the Health Department at Peninsula Health District – Williamsburg Environmental Health, (757) 603-4277.
Exposures also include direct contact between pets and the rabid animal.
After hours, please contact local Animal Control – James City County / Williamsburg Animal Control: 253-1800.
ORIGINAL: A fox has tested positive for rabies and is on the loose in Williamsburg, officials say.
According to the Peninsula Health District, a gray fox has tested positive for the lethal rabies virus.
The fox is believed to be located near the 100 block of Indian Circle, off the Pocahontas Trail. Area residents are advised to avoid the area, the Peninsula Health District said in a release Wednesday.
“The Peninsula Health District is looking for a fox that has tested positive for rabies,” District Administrative Support Supervisor Lois Gary wrote in an email.
Immediate neighbors and nearby homeowners’ associations will also be contacted, the release stated.
Health officials are asking anyone with exposure to the fox to contact the Health Department. Pets exposed to the fox should also be reported.
The Health Department at the Peninsula Health District- Williamsburg Environmental Health can be reached by calling (757) 603-4277. After business hours, residents are advised to call the James City County/Williamsburg Animal Control at (757) 253-1800.
Rabies is a fatal disease, but is preventable by acting quickly once exposed to the virus. The disease has been carried by mammals on the peninsula since the 1980s, according to the release.
The Peninsula Health District advises rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, reporting all exposure to doctors and the local health department and enjoying wildlife from a safe distance.