Rabies Awareness Week: September 23-29

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:12/267/LHC
September 24, 2013

Rabies Awareness Week: September 23-29

Join an Online Chat Friday, September 27, 2 p.m.


            Animal Control Officers responded to a report of cow that was showing rabies-like symptoms on a farm in the Great Falls area in late August. The owners observed their cow as she vocalized with excessive mooing and drooling; showed signs of agitation, and, in her final days, a weakening and drunken-acting condition. The owners never suspected the rabies virus. An observant veterinarian, however, suspected rabies, euthanized the cow and had her brain tested for the virus. While it is unknown how the cow acquired the virus, the incident underscores the need for owners to make sure their livestock are vaccinated.

            It’s Rabies Awareness Week and according to local police and health officials, while incidents like this are rare, the rabies virus is all around the County. So far in 2013, an estimated 35 animals have tested positive for the rabies virus. These include 21 raccoons, 7 skunks, 4 foxes, a bat, a cat and the cow. There are, however, more rare and unusual cases. In September 2012 , two beavers were found to be rabid in different parts of the county. Their aggressive behaviors were highly publicized and residents subsequently learned much more about rabies as a result of those exposures.

            Roughly, 50 animals per year are found to be rabid in Fairfax County. Additionally, animal control officers removed many other animals from the community that showed obvious rabies symptoms but were not laboratory tested.

            Officials share the following rabies awareness reminders:

  • Keep all cats, dogs and livestock current on their rabies vaccination (required at 4 months old for cats and dogs)
  • 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 a leash to minimize potential exposure
  • Don’t feed pets outside as this attracts wildlife
  • Don’t feed wildlife 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

            Join Animal Control rabies experts for an online chat, Friday, September 27 at 2 p.m. Or submit your questions now.


Learn more about Rabies at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd/rabies/


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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