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Catawba County has 1st rabies case of year

Catawba County health officials have reported their first rabies case of the year – a fox that attacked a person earlier this month in Hickory.

The attack was reported shortly after 11 p.m. July 6 near Springs Road in northeast Hickory, authorities said. Animal Control officers captured the fox and sent it to the N.C. Public Health Laboratory for testing.

On July 9, according to Catawba County officials, they were notified by the state that the fox tested positive for rabies. The person who was attacked by the animal was advised to get medical treatment, authorities said.

Gaston County authorities reported that a man had been attacked by a rabid fox earlier this month.

The disease, which is fatal to humans if not treated, is spread by mammals, especially foxes, bats and raccoons. Pets such as dogs, cats and ferrets also can contract and spread the virus.

State law requires pet owners to have their dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated against rabies. Hickory police said that as a result of the recent rabies case, they will schedule a reduced-cost vaccination clinic soon, with the date to be announced.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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