- Wednesday May 19th, 2010 :: 10:22 a.m. EDT
An update on the recent fox attack on two humans - animal has tested positive for rabies virus.
We've received a good amount of inquiries from our citizens over the last couple of days in reference to the recent fox attack on two humans at a business off of Palmetto Road. We can confirm this morning that the fox tested positive for rabies - you may have already seen that information on the news.
While attacks on humans like the one this week are rare, it is not uncommon for us to receive at least a few calls each spring and summer in reference to wildlife displaying abnormal behavior. In most cases, these are raccoons and our officers contact Fayette County Animal Control to remove and euthanize the animals. Absent an attack, these animals are not tested so we have no local data to determine whether these animals are infected with rabies, distemper, or other diseases. However, information provided by the Georgia Division of Public Health indicates that an average of 350 animals test positive for rabies each year (Averaged from Data years 2000 - 2006). One human tested positive in 2000.
It's important to remember that the Town of Tyrone contains an abundance of green space and woodland areas that naturally harbor several indigenous species of animals that potentially carry rabies. Consequently, I want to direct our citizens to the following documents that provide answers to frequently asked questions about rabies:
Georgia DHR Rabies Fact Sheet: http://health.state.ga.us/pdfs/epi/zvbd/rabiesfacts_09.pdf
Georgia DHR Rabies Q&A: http://health.state.ga.us/pdfs/epi/zvbd/RabiesFAQ.pdf
When most people think of rabies, they envision aggressive behavior and foaming at the mouth, but the fact is that the symptoms of rabies manifest in different ways - foaming at the mouth is a symptom of a specific type of rabies called 'paralytic rabies' and only occurs in about 20% of cases. The foaming occurs from constant salivating due to paralysis in the jaw muscles. Another myth is that seeing a normally nocturnal animal such as a fox or raccoon during the day may be a sure sign of infection, but this is simply not true. One fact most people are not aware of is that, due to their low body temperature, opossums are extremely resistant to rabies. Hissing, drooling, and shaking are normal forms of defense for these mammals.
Rabid animals may stagger, appear restless, be aggressive, have difficulty walking, seem overly friendly, or appear to be choking. If you encounter wildlife on your property displaying any type of abnormal behavior, leave the area and call 911 immediately. DO NOT encounter these animals on your own!
Tyrone Police Department
945 Senoia Road
Tyrone, GA 30290
Chief Brandon Perkins