REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Residents who live in the area of Bayard Avenue and Philadelphia Street are being asked to look out for a fox with rabies. The fox returned positive rabies results on March 18th. The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) says one person, who does not live in Delaware, may have been exposed. That person is expected to be treated soon.
DPH says since January 1st, 2022, one raccoon and one fox have tested positive for rabies. In that same time period, 44 other animals were tested, and returned negative results. Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to rabies is asked to contact their health care provider, or DPH at (302) 744-4995. If you think a pet has been exposed, you are asked to bring the animal to the veterinarian, and report the exposure to the Delaware Department of Agriculture.
DPH recommends that individuals take the following steps to prevent rabies exposure:
- All dogs, cats, and ferrets 6 months of age and older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
- Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors and not letting them roam free. It is especially important for pet owners who do allow their cats to roam outdoors to vaccinate their pets.
- Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.
- Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
- Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.
- Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and, thus, reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.
- Keep your garbage securely covered.
- Consider vaccinating livestock and horses as well. It is recommended to consult with your private veterinarian if you have any questions regarding whether your animal(s) should be vaccinated against rabies.
If You Count an Animal Behaving Aggressively:
- If you encounter a wild animal behaving aggressively, it is recommended you contact the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Wildlife Section at (302) 739-9912 or (302) 735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a private nuisance wildlife control operator.
- Do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may startle the animal and cause it to attack. Instead, your initial response – if the animal is behaving in an aggressive manner or appears to be foaming at the mouth – should be to raise your hands above your head to make yourself appear larger to the animal while slowly backing away from it. If the animal starts coming toward you, raise your voice and yell sternly at it, “Get away!” If all that fails, use any means to protect yourself including throwing an object at the animal or trying to keep it away by using a long stick, shovel, or fishing pole.
- If you encounter a stray or feral domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, behaving aggressively, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at (302) 255-4646.