Fox in Houston County confirmed positive for rabies; precautions advised


CONTACT: Burnestine Taylor, M.D., (334) 206-5325
Leigh Salter, (334) 206-5373

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has confirmed that a fox found on Broadway Avenue in the town of Avon in Houston County has tested positive for rabies within the last seven days. This incident occurred in a private yard where the owner was alerted by barking dogs and found the fox. The owner and dogs have received appropriate medical attention. The fox was taken to the state Bureau of Clinical Laboratories where rabies was confirmed.

This is the second case of laboratory-confirmed rabies in Houston County in 2023. The first case was in February 2023 when a raccoon that was found dead in the town of Pansey and subsequently sent to the state laboratory where rabies was confirmed.

According to Dr. Dee W. Jones, State Public Health Veterinarian, “This should be a stern reminder that all pets should be properly vaccinated against rabies, given the circumstances of two rabid animals now in the same general area.” He adds, “It is not unusual to see clusters of rabies cases in wild animals and strays during this time of year.”

It is very common for domestic animals and pets to have contact with a wild rabid animal. Alabama state law requires that dogs, cats and ferrets 12 weeks of age and older be current with rabies vaccination. Rabies vaccines are also available for horses and other livestock if recommended by a veterinarian. Vaccinating animals reduces the risk of rabies infection should exposure occur; thus, vaccinations protect animals, as well as their owners and caretakers.

Rabies prevention is multifaceted. It involves people taking precautions with wildlife, making sure that their pets are current on rabies vaccinations, and always reporting an animal bite or other exposures to their medical provider and ADPH. In addition to vaccination, area residents are advised to take the following precautions to avoid possible exposures to rabies:

  • Do not allow pets to run loose, confine within a fenced-in area or with a leash.
  • Do not leave uneaten pet food or scraps near your residence.
  • Do not illegally feed or keep wildlife as pets.
  • Do not go near wildlife or domestic animals that are acting in a strange or unusual manner.
  • Caution children not to go near any stray or wild animal, regardless of its behavior.

ADPH is working with local veterinarians and the county rabies officer to get animals vaccinated. Dr. Brad Harris, Houston County rabies officer, will be holding reduced-fee vaccination clinics on Saturday, May 6, from 8-11 a.m. at Westgate Park and Houston County Farm Center. Also, for stray or unwanted animals, contact Houston County Rabies Control at (334) 678-2810.

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County health departments throughout Alabama provide a wide range of confidential and professional services. Contact your local county health department for additional information.

Mission: To promote, protect, and improve Alabama’s health

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