The Hanover Animal Control Office and Hanover Health Department are investigating reports of a wild animal, possibly a fox, that has reportedly attacked at least three humans.
Because the attacks have been unprovoked, the animal is suspected to have rabies. The attacks occurred in the Doswell area of Hanover County, near the intersection of Route 1 and 30.
In a statement, Dr. Tom Franck, director of the Chickahominy Health District, warned that residents and visitors in this area should avoid contact with wild and stray animals, and they should report any unusual animal behavior to the Hanover County Animal Control office at (804) 365-6140.
For now, residents in the affected area should also closely monitor their pets and keep their pets indoors as much as possible. If you’ve just been attacked by a wild animal, or if you believe you are in imminent danger of being attacked, call 911.
The Hanover Health Department also provided the following tips if you have been bitten, scratched or otherwise attacked by a suspect animal:
• First, don’t panic. Help will be available.
• Give first aid as you would for any wound or injury. This includes washing all open wounds thoroughly with soap and lots of water.
• Try to identify the animal before it runs away, but don’t try to pick the animal up. Call an animal control officer to retrieve it.
• It it’s a wild animal that must be killed, don’t damage the head. The brain will be needed to be tested for rabies. Don’t let anyone destroy wild animals at random just because there may be rabies outbreak in your area. Only a few wild animals will be carrying rabies.
• Most importantly, rabies is a fatal disease, so seek immediate medical care at your local hospital Emergency Department. Your doctor will want to know if the animal has been captured. If necessary, your doctor will consult with the local health department and may recommend that you receive anti-rabies treatment. Your doctor may also treat you for other possible infections that could be caused from the bite.
• Report the bite to the local health department.
For more information about rabies, visit this link.