Bedford County four-year-old is recovering well after being bitten by a rabid fox
BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) – On Friday afternoon, Billy Robb spoke to us from the delivery room where his son was born on Thursday. But just days before he got a call that would worry any parent.
“Pa-Pa called me in a panic, I couldn’t even understand him, he didn’t make much sense,” said Robb, who was at work at the time.
What Robb’s father was trying to tell him was that a fox had bitten his four-year-old daughter, Ryleigh Willow Robb, outside her home in the Stone Mountain Road area of Bedford County.
“He made a mad dash for him, jumped over the railing, ran straight for Ryleigh. Dad’s friend Amy was able to hug Ryleigh as the thing jumped up and grabbed her leg, tried to knock her down, grabbed her again.
The family responded immediately by dialing 911.
“There we went to the hospital, she had to have injections in all her bites.”
It wasn’t until Thursday that the Virginia Department of Health called them to tell them they had discovered the fox had rabies.
“It was a whole different level of dread.”
But rabies infections aren’t very common in the area, according to Officer Brandon Schoonover, who works in the Roanoke County Police Animal Control Unit.
“The number of positive cases is rare. Can’t say it never happens, but they’re usually in the single digits.
But just like Robb’s family did, it’s always important to call him if you come into contact with a wild animal.
“If you think you have been exposed you should seek medical attention immediately and the same goes for pets.”
The good news is that Ryleigh is doing great now and only had to descend a few floors for her treatment on Friday as the family celebrated her newest addition.
Robb just wants to educate other parents about safety and keeping an eye on their kids.
For more information on rabies, you can find VDH’s press release below:
“Everyone should take common sense steps to protect themselves and their pets from rabies. Pet owners should keep their pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Virginia law requires that all dogs and cats four months of age and older be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian and that vaccinations be up to date. It is important to avoid contact with wild or stray animals, and parents should ensure that their children are taught not to touch, pet or otherwise handle unfamiliar animals.
Additional steps that can be taken to prevent rabies in people and pets include:
Do not feed stray animals. Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks. Feed your pets indoors and don’t let them roam.
Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they do not know.
Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals. Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center if you have concerns about sick or injured wildlife.
Keep wildlife out of homes by covering chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, basements and porches. Make sure trash cans have tight-fitting lids.
Do not attempt to trap or handle stray and wild animals. If a bat is inside and may have come in contact with someone, do not release it. Call your local animal control officer or health department to determine if the animal should be picked up and tested for rabies.
If you are bitten by a wild or stray animal, don’t panic. Wash the wound(s) thoroughly with warm, soapy water and contact animal control, your doctor, or the health department for further recommendations.
Copyright 2022 WDBJ. All rights reserved.