Fox Bite Triggers First Catawba County Rabies Case of 2014 - myfoxcarolinas.com

Fox Bite Triggers First Catawba County Rabies Case of 2014

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    I am a Digital Journalist based in Hickory. I cover Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Iredell and Watauga counties. I was born in Weaverville, NC. My high school dream was to be a White House correspondent, then college happened and I got involved with the radio station at Western Carolina University.
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Ashley Ledbetter was recently attacked on the back of her leg by a fox.

“I turned around and saw him hanging off my leg,” she said.

She was bitten a total of three times by the fox, which later tested positive for rabies. It the first confirmed case in Catawba county this year.

Treatment options are all about prevention, according to Dr. Gregory Taraska of Frye Regional Medical Center.

"We treat many people with rabies exposure with profilaxis and medications to prevent rabies," Taraska said. "The treatment for rabies is a series of shots. The initial shot is an immunoglobulin which helps protect you from the disease, and then there is a series of vaccines that is given in addition."

Dr. Joseph Sawdy, a veterinarian in Hickory, says vaccinations for pets is not only the law—it’s effective.

“It’s definitely a case of where the ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, because there is no documented cure for rabies in animals,” Sawdy said. “There have been several people that have survived, but those cases are exceptionally rare, and so a simple vaccine done once every year to three years can prevent the whole problem.”

While this is just the first documented case in Catawba County for 2014, the head of animal control says the cases vary from year to year. Officials say they’ve had as many as 29 cases in one year (2000).

In the end, Ashley is thankful for the vaccine, but still shocked about one part.

“Mainly what I was thinking about was, “Really? Seriously? A fox? A fox, of all things to get me, a fox?” she said.

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