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Fairfax County Health Department issues alert after multiple rabid skunk attacks

(File Photo, MGN Online)

Authorities have issued a Rabies Alert for the Centreville area after attacks by several wild animals that all tested positive for rabies.

The Fairfax County Health Department said a total of three skunks and a raccoon found in the Centreville area in September all tested positive for rabies.

The first reported incident happened on Sept. 6 and involved residents in the 14800 block of Haymarket Lane feeding and caring for a skunk they thought looked sick. The next confirmed rabies case was discovered Sept. 14 after a skunk was found fighting with two dogs in the 5400 block of Goldmoore Court. The most recent case happened Friday in the 6300 block of James Harris Way, where a skunk was attacking inanimate objects, dogs and another skunk.

The only attack on a person was in the 13000 block of Madonna Lane on Sept. 21, when a hurt raccoon bit someone who had stopped to help it after finding the animal in the road.

Officials are warning residents that the infected animals could have contacted other people or pets between Aug. 26-Sept. 27. Anyone who was attacked by rabid animals or has a pet that was scratched or bitten is asked to call the Fairfax County Health Department's Rabies Program at (703) 246-2433, TTY 711.

The Fairfax County Health Department sent out the following steps to take in order to protect against rabies:

- Do not allow your pets to roam unattended.

- Do not adopt or feed wild or stray animals.

- Seal openings in your house so that wildlife cannot enter.

- Report animal bites, animals that are acting strangely (including domestic animals), or altercations between wild and domestic animals to Fairfax County's Animal Protection Police at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.

- If bitten or scratched by an animal that might have rabies, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention right away. When vaccinations are provided in time, rabies treatment is 100 percent effective in preventing the disease. But if not treated, rabies is 100 percent fatal.

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