Jackson County’s Public Health Division reports that a dead fox found near Jacksonville tested positive for rabies. The animal had bitten a house cat that was vaccinated for rabies, but will be under quarantine for 6 months.
It’s the first time since 1994 that a fox has tested positive for rabies in Jackson County. In recent years, several foxes have tested positive for rabies in Josephine County.
Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that attacks the central nervous system. The strain from foxes can be traced to bats. Other strains found in the United States (skunk and raccoon) are not found in Oregon, according to a Jackson County Public Health press release. Symptoms include walking in circles, lethargy, loss of muscular coordination, convulsion, irritability or aggressiveness, disorientation, excessive drooling, and showing no fear of humans.
For protection, health officials advise vaccinating your pets, watching wildlife at a distance and not handling them, keeping garbage in secure containers, feeding pets indoors, and not feeding wild animals.