A fox that bit two people in Forsyth County last week has been confirmed as rabid, authorities say.
Two women, ages 23 and 58, received medical treatment after being bitten in separate incidents Monday near Pilgrim Mill Circle off of Ga. 400 near Exit 16, said Forsyth County Sheriff’s spokesman Doug Rainwater.
Test results returned late Wednesday indicated the fox had rabies, Rainwater said.
It is Forsyth County’s third case of rabies in 2013, and second involving a fox. In April, a fox tested positive for the virus after getting in a scuffle with two pet dogs near Chamblee Gap and Kelly Mill roads.
The owner killed the fox, according to the sheriff's office, and took the wild animal and two dogs to a veterinarian.
The first case of 2013 was reported in mid-March when a bat tested positive for rabies. The bat had been found by pet dogs in the back yard of a home off Hwy. 20 in east Forsyth.
In 2012, there were two cases, one each involving a raccoon and fox.
In last week’s incident, the animal was found and put down by the Department of Natural Resources after law enforcement responded to reports of a fox acting suspiciously.
Through a series of interviews, authorities determined two women had been bitten Monday, according to Rainwater.
He said the fox bit the 58-year-old woman in the arm while she was gardening and later got the 23-year-old on the leg while she was walking.
Both women were treated and released from Northside Hospital-Forsyth.
Domestic animals are required to be vaccinated in Georgia, and the sheriff's office reminds pet owners to make sure rabies shots are current.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies is a virus that infects the central nervous system, causing disease in the brain and eventually death.
Rabies affects only mammals and is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal, including raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats.
The best defense, officials say, is an annual rabies vaccination.
Authorities also remind residents to use caution when approaching wild or stray animals, particularly those acting oddly or aggressively.