Santa Rosa, CA – October 24, 2016 – During
the week of October 17, a fox in the Sea Ranch area of Sonoma County tested
positive for rabies. Aggressive behavior prompted authorities with state Fish
& Wildlife to capture the fox and pursue testing for rabies. Individuals
with known exposure to the fox were referred for medical evaluation and care,
including post-exposure preventive treatment. Several domestic animals with
known exposure have received booster vaccinations and have been quarantined by
Sonoma County Animal Services.
is a fatal viral disease that can be prevented by avoiding contact with animals
that may be rabid. If a person has significant exposure, getting vaccinated
right away can also prevent disease. Rabies can be spread from the bite of a
rabid animal, or when the animal’s saliva contacts a person’s mouth, eyes or an
is a serious disease and the public should take all precautions when
encountering an aggressive animal. However, with proper safeguards the risk to
an individual or their family is low,” stated Dr. Karen Holbrook, Sonoma County
Deputy Health Officer. “Make sure your pets and domestic animals are up-to-date
on their rabies vaccinations, and keep children and pets from approaching or
touching wild or strange animals.”
poses a real threat, especially to unvaccinated domestic animals. This incident
should serve as a reminder for pet owners to ensure their animals are
up-to-date with rabies vaccination. Rabies occurs throughout California
including Sonoma County. Bats are the animal most commonly found to have
rabies. Skunks, foxes, raccoons and unvaccinated domestic animals can also
develop rabies. In Sonoma County approximately four animals per year have
tested positive for rabies. Human rabies cases in the United States are rare.
signs of rabid animals, wild or domestic, may include staggering, restlessness,
aggression, a change of the tone of their barks or growls, or choking. Passive animals
sometimes become fierce and aggressive. Nocturnal animals sometimes appear
during the day.
If you or a loved one are
bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal or an animal suspected of having
rabies, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and then seek
medical attention. Ask your medical provider to report and coordinate with Sonoma County Disease
Control. Your medical provider should call (707) 565-4567.
these steps to protect your family and pets from rabies:
- Make sure your pets and domestic animals are
up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations;
- Keep children and pets from approaching or touching
wild or strange animals.
sure that any openings to your home such as crawl spaces, chimneys, attics,
porches or garages are sealed or covered with thick wire screen to prevent
entry by wild animals.
wild animal foraging by not leaving pet food outside and by securing garbage
feeding, touching or housing stray or wild animals.
- If you see a domestic
animal (i.e. cat, dog) that is sick, injured, dead, orphaned or behaving oddly,
leave it alone and contact Sonoma County Animal Services: (707) 565-7100.
- If you see a wild animal
(i.e. fox, skunk, raccoon), that is sick, injured, dead, orphaned or behaving
oddly, leave it alone and contact Fish and Wildlife: (707) 944-5500 or after
hours 911. Do NOT handle the animal yourself.
additional information on rabies, please visit: