Fox might have spread rabies in Columbia County

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Two Columbia County women were hospitalized after being attacked by a fox that was later killed by deputies and suspected to be rabid.

The fox appeared at a residence on Creekwalk Circle near The Pass on Monday and approached a 72-year-old woman without showing signs of fear, said Linda Fulmer, the county’s animal control director.

“The lady was outside, and it went for her pocketbook first, and then it attacked her,” Ms. Fulmer said. “She hit it with her cane and then called a neighbor, who arrived right away.”

The neighbor, who is 67 years old, was also bitten.

The women called deputies, who arrived while the fox was still there. It charged them, and they shot it.

The women, who did not want to be identified, sustained multiple bites and lacerations and were treated with tetanus shots and antibiotics before being released, Ms. Fulmer said. “They were very shaken up.”

The fox carcass is being tested for rabies at the Georgia Public Health Laboratory in Decatur, Ga., and results are expected back by Friday.

If the fox tests positive, both ladies will have to undergo rabies treatments, she said.

The suspicious fox incident was the second this week in The Pass area, Ms. Fulmer said. On Monday, a fox on Cedar Rock Drive in Martinez was picked up and euthanized by Animal Control after exhibiting unusual behavior. That carcass was not tested.

Excluding this week’s fox incidents, there have been seven confirmed rabies cases in the county this year, including a July 21 incident in which a rabid coyote attacked cattle off Scott’s Ferry Road.

The other six cases included one bat and five raccoons, Ms. Fulmer said.

If anyone sees a wild animal staying near their home, or if a pet comes in contact with a suspicious wild animal, please contact Animal Care & Control immediately at (706) 541-4077.

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