Rabies Awareness Week: Sept. 24-30; Learn More

Fairfax County Police Department
Public Information Office
4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Va. 22030
703-246-2253. TTY 703-204-2264. Fax 703-246-4253
News Release:12/268/LHC
September 24, 2012


                     Rabies Awareness Week: Learn More
                     September 24-30

            Animal Control Officers responded to a report of a beloved family pet that fought with a raccoon in his own wooded, Fairfax Station area back yard last week. The dog killed the raccoon and, after laboratory testing, officials found that the animal had rabies. Fortunately, in this case, the dog was up-to-date on his shots and with the help of a booster; he should not risk any additional health complications.

            According to police and health officials, incidents like this one happen every week in Fairfax County. There are, however, more rare and unusual cases. Two weeks ago , two beavers were found to be rabid in different parts of the county. Their aggressive behaviors were highly publicized and residents have subsequently learned much more about rabies as a result of these exposures. So far in 2012, there have been reports of 35 rabid animals in Fairfax County; 19 raccoons, five skunks, five bats, three foxes, two beavers and a cat. In 2011, there were a total of 41.

            Officials share the following rabies awareness reminders:

  • Keep all cats and dogs current on their rabies vaccination (required at 4 months old)
  • Report sick or injured wildlife
  • Rabid animals may appear clumsy; they may walk in circles or stumble into inanimate objects.
  • Just because an animal is seen during the day, does not mean that it is rabid.
  • Keep pets secure and on leash to minimize potential exposure
  • Don’t feed pets outside as this attracts wildlife
  • Don’t feed wildlife (mammals) and keep trash secured.
  • Fairfax County averages about 50 positive rabies cases each year with the prime carrier (vector) being raccoons.
  • Fairfax County follows up with all positive rabies tests by educating the public (local Community) through mailings and a canvass.
  • For further information on rabies contact the Health Department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


To request this information in an alternate format, call the Public Affairs Bureau at 703.246.2253. TTY 703-877-3715

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