A fox that showed signs of aggression toward residents on Jerico Marsh Road in Midway has tested positive for rabies, according to the Liberty County Health Department.
No humans were exposed to the fox, official said. But they reminded residents to vaccinate pets against rabies and to avoid wild animals.
Several species of animals that are native to coastal Georgia — including raccoons, foxes and bats — can carry rabies.
Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. Symptoms in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth and paralysis.
The department’s Environmental Health Office offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:
• Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
• Make sure your pets are immunized. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines by four months of age, followed by a booster shot one year later, and another one every year as prescribed by your veterinarian.
• Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good principle for children to learn.
If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Liberty County Animal Control at 912-876-9191 and the Liberty County Health Department Environmental Health Office at 912-368-5520.