Sian Wilkerson The Virginia Gazette

A fox responsible for an attack on a cat in James City County has tested positive for the rabies virus.

According to the Hampton and Peninsula Health Districts, the fox, which is now deceased, was sighted in the Canvas Back Run and Warhill Sports Complex area in James County on August 26.

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He is the second fox in the region to test positive for rabies in just over a week. On the night of August 22, a wild gray fox bit five people, a dog and a cat in Williamsburg near Mimosa Drive, Boundary Street, Counselor’s Way and Griffin Avenue. This fox also tested positive for the rabies virus.

Health officials said Wednesday they would contact immediate neighbors, as well as any civic or homeowners associations near where the fox was spotted.

Rabies is a deadly, but preventable, mammal-borne disease that has been present in the peninsula’s wildlife population since the mid-1980s, according to health districts.

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Those with information about a fox exposure are asked to contact the Williamsburg Environmental Health Office of Health Districts at 757-603-4277. Exposures include a bite, scratch, or contact with saliva through an open wound, eyes, nose, or mouth, as well as direct contact between your pet and the rabid animal. For after hours calls, contact Animal Control at 757-565-0370.

Health officials are reminding people to follow important rabies prevention guidelines, including getting pets vaccinated, reporting all animal exposures to your doctor and local health department, and enjoying only wildlife at a safe distance.