Alabama woman bitten by rabid fox while unloading groceries from car: report

Alabama woman bitten by rabid fox while unloading groceries from car: report

An Alabama woman was bitten by a rabid fox recently as she unloaded groceries from her car, according to local reports.

The Atmore woman, whose name was not disclosed, was reportedly holding a loaf of bread when “seemingly from out of nowhere, she was attacked and bitten by a fox,” according to a news release from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

The woman, described as “older,” received post-exposure treatment to help prevent rabies infection.

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The fox was taken to the Alabama Department of Public Health Bureau of Clinical Laboratories, where it was tested and confirmed positive for rabies. 

Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if not treated before emergence of symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An Alabama woman was recently bitten by a rabid fox (not pictured), according to local reports. (iStock)

It is typically spread to people or pets through the bite or scratch of an infected animal.

“Although rabies is primarily found in wild animals since widespread vaccination of domestic animals began over 70 years ago, it continues to be a public health threat,” said Dr. Dee W. Jones, Alabama’s public health veterinarian, in the release.  

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“Although attacks such as this by rabid wildlife are rather uncommon, it highlights the risk rabies continues to pose and hopefully reminds people to be aware of the risks and continue to vaccinate their pets.”

Unloading groceries

The woman (not pictured) was unloading groceries from her car when she was bitten. (iStock)

Owners of dogs, cats and ferrets 12 weeks of age and older are legally required to keep their pets up to date on rabies vaccination in the state of Alabama.

“Vaccinating animals reduces the risk of rabies infection should exposure occur; thus, vaccinations protect animals, as well as their owners and caretakers,” the release stated.

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The health department also urged people to not allow pets to run loose, properly dispose of any food scraps, refrain from feeding or keeping wildlife as pets, avoid animals that are behaving strangely, and keep children away from stray or wild animals.

Vaccinate dog

“Although attacks such as this by rabid wildlife are rather uncommon, it highlights the risk rabies continues to pose and hopefully reminds people to be aware of the risks and continue to vaccinate their pets,” said a veterinarian. (iStock)

Anyone who has been bitten by an animal or otherwise exposed to rabies should contact a doctor and the health department.

Approximately 60,000 Americans receive medical care following a potential rabies exposure each year, per the CDC.

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Dr. Marc Siegel, a physician, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and Fox News medical contributor, spoke with Fox News Digital about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

“Rabies treatments are reliably found in emergency rooms, as there isn’t enough demand to keep the shots in every doctor’s office or urgent care clinic,” he said.

Rabies vaccination syringe held in gloved hand.

“Treatment involves a vaccine series and rabies immunoglobulin (a medication made up of antibodies against the rabies virus),” a doctor told Fox News Digital. (iStock)

“Treatment involves a vaccine series and rabies immunoglobulin (a medication made up of antibodies against the rabies virus).”

Effective preventive treatment is close to 100% successful if administered properly, Siegel said.

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“Conversely, if rabies infection takes hold, it is close to 100% fatal,” he warned.

Rabies prevention treatments can be expensive, however, Siegel noted — in Washington, D.C., the first treatment alone has reportedly cost some patients more than $15,000.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Alabama Department of Public Health for comment.

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