Woman attacked by rabid fox: 'It followed me, chased me' - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Woman attacked by rabid fox: 'It followed me, chased me'

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HICKORY, NC (WBTV) -

A woman who was attacked by a rabid fox in Catawba County is speaking out for the first time since the attack nearly two weeks ago.

Officials say the woman was attacked in northeast Hickory, the county's first confirmed case of rabies this year.

The attack was reported July 6 in the Springs Road area shortly after 11 p.m.  

"I was filling up water balloons over the side of the wall, so I didn't get wet," 23-year-old Ashley Ledbetter told WBTV. "So [the fox] attached back here where you see the marks."

As she showed the marks on the back of her leg where the fox bite her, Ledbetter says the whole thing took her by surprise.

She says the fox never made a sound, just stared at her and then attacked.

"I felt a pinching on the back of my leg. I looked around and it was the fox hanging off the back of my leg," she said.

"I pulled it off by it's neck and threw it in the yard and ran halfway up my stairs," she continued. "It followed me, chasing me and it bit my foot and I threw it against the wall.

Animal Control officers collected the fox and its remains were sent to the North Carolina Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing.

The fox tested positive for rabies on July 9 and Ledbetter was rushed to the hospital for her first round of many shots.

She's already had eight shots and still has two more shots left to get.

Ledbetter knows that even though she did the right thing, she's still worried about what might be in the woods behind her apartment.

"I have a five year old. I'd rather it be me than her," she said. "I'd rather me go through the shots, me have something bad happen to me then her."

Officials say the best way to protect your pets from rabies is to have them properly vaccinated for rabies.  

Humans should avoid contact with wild animals and be aware that one form of rabies may cause a wild animal to lose its normal fear of humans and approach or attack.

If you see an animal acting strangely, report it to animal control. Some things to look for are:

  • General sickness
  • Problems swallowing
  • Lots of drool or saliva
  • An animal that appears more tame than you would expect
  • An animal that bites at everything
  • An animal that's having trouble moving or may even be paralyzed

If you think you may have rabies, pay attention to the following:

  • First symptoms of rabies are similar to the flu. Weakness or discomfort, fever or headache.
  • You may experience discomfort in the form of a prickling or itching sensation at the site of the bite.
  • If you begin to have anxiety, confusion, cerebral dysfunction, seek immediate medical attention

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/

For more information on rabies or rabies vaccinations, you may call Catawba County Animal Services at 828-464-7686.

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