Rabid fox bites man in south Augusta

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, March 8, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Richmond County Health Department confirmed Friday that a fox that bit a man in south Augusta last week tested positive for rabies. It all happened at a Waste Management Plant off Goshen Industrial Boulevard. Now, the Health Department is warning everyone in the area to avoid wild animals.

Friday made one week since the attack happened. A fox bit one man and chased another who was able to kill it.

"It's concerning because there are a lot of animals over in the community where I live, and if an animal rabid can come up and attack, it's going to attack," said Kathy Fuller, who works off Goshen Industrial Boulevard and lives with her two dogs just a few miles away.

It's also a scary thought for her coworker Justin Wallace, whose son goes to school right down the road because he says kids don't know to stay away.

"Oh look, let's go pet the fox," he said. "They don't know any better."

In this case, a rabid fox attacked a man at a business on Goshen Industrial. It's something Environmental Health County Manager Randy Wishard says is a clear sign something's wrong.

"They stay their distance when there's no health problems and whenever you get bit by a fox, there's something going on that has brought them into your environment, because normally they don't do that," Wishard said.

The place where it happened is surrounded by pretty dense woods. The Richmond County Health Department has now given out rabies notices to every business along Goshen Industrial.

"It is scary because, again, you have to be very cautious about that," Wishard said. "We see foxes in the city of Augusta, but it's in where you have some heavy woods or dense woods, you still have dens there."

They say to have all pets vaccinated for rabies and call in any unusual sightings.

"If they see any raccoons, foxes, avoid them [and] call animal services," Wishard said.

Even though Fuller's dogs have been vaccinated, she still has some fears.

"It's still scary because I'm not vaccinated against rabies," she said.

"The fact is if there's one, more than likely, there's more," Wallace said.

This is the first incident of rabies so far this year in Richmond County. They typically have one or two every year. Last year, they tested 19 animals and only one came back positive.

Wishard says the victim he won't contract rabies because he began a rabies serum last week right after the bite. Another point Wishard made is that in his 26 years with the county they have never seen multiple cases week after week in the same area.

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