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Rabies cases on the rise in the Triangle

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The Tilleys encounters a rabid fox in Bahama, just one of 10 confirmed cases of the disease in Durham County. The Tilleys encounters a rabid fox in Bahama, just one of 10 confirmed cases of the disease in Durham County.
BAHAMA, N.C. -

The number of confirmed rabies cases in central North Carolina is on the rise.

Cumberland County has five confirmed cases, nine in Orange County and eight in Wake County.

Durham County had no confirmed cases of rabies in 2012 but that number has grown to 10 this year.

On July 7, the Tilley family from Bahama encountered a rabid fox.

"I looked over there and my dog and the fox were tangled. They kind of started to fight," said Shannon Tilley, who was pregnant at the time.

The Tilley's were able to get their dog, Abbie, away from the animal but the fox kept coming toward Shannon's husband, Adam.

"The fox was acting like it wanted to charge Adam, so he shot the fox," Shannon Tilley said.

Two days later they found out the fox was rabid.

Abbie was previously vaccinated against rabies but the Tilley's gave her a booster after the attack.

"She (Abbie) doesn't seem to be scared. She doesn't seem to be phased by it," Shannon Tilley said.

Abbie is back home with her family, including baby Aidan, born just days ago.

Aidan is healthy but there was concern about how to protect him while also protecting Shannon Tilley against exposure to rabies.  The concern stemmed from her contact with Abbie following the attack.

"That was very stressful because I was going to have my baby in two weeks and I was like, 'Oh no. is it safe? What am I going to do?'' Shannon Tilley said. "I called my doctor and they said, 'Go ahead and get the shot.' Just to be on the safe side, because, the alternative is not good."

This was the only confirmed case involving a fox in Durham. The other cases involved a skunk and eight rabid raccoons.

A month ago, Durham County lowered the cost of rabies vaccinations from $15 to $10 and eliminated the cost to vaccinate a pet.

"The goal is to make it affordable and to increase the number of people that are bringing in their pets to get vaccines," said Paul Sherwin with the Durham County Sheriff's Office.

Pet owners who neglect to vaccinate their animals in Durham County face a $250 fine and misdemeanor charge. But Sherwin said authorities will give warnings before charging a pet owner.

Read more info on rabies cases around the state.

Find more rabies information and details on prevention.

 

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