Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sir Rowland knows a good story when he hears one

I was speaking to my Mother in Law on the phone the other night, when she tells me this story.....

So of course, I decide to relay the story to The Collective, as a warning against strange animals, rabies etc....

Thinking to myself, it could not possibly bother them. Heck, children are raised on stories like Hansel and Gretel, the Big Bad Wolf, The 3 Little Pigs etc....

By Mary Anderson and J.D. Walker -- Staff Writers, The Courier-Tribune
Posted: 06/12/07 - 09:48:08 pm CDT

ASHEBORO — Two Asheboro women were attacked by an apparently rabid fox while in their yard in Asheboro early Tuesday afternoon.

Nellie McKenzie, 80, grabbed the fox that bit her granddaughter and choked the animal almost to death before her husband, James, heard their screams and ran outside to hit it with a board.

Nellie McKenzie said Tuesday evening that she and her granddaughter, Kendra Wallace, were sitting on the patio at the McKenzie home on Oak Drive, watching Wallace’s children, ages 2 and 4, play in the yard.

Wallace, who lives in North Asheboro, was sitting in a swing. She suddenly screamed and jumped up. A fox had bitten her on the lower back through the swing.

“The fox was still hanging onto Kendra and when I tried to knock it off, it jumped down and bit me on the leg, then bit my hands when I tried to grab it around the neck,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said the attack was a total surprise, but she had the presence of mind to try to deliberately choke it to death.

“Kendra grabbed a stick and began hitting the animal, but it would still kick and fight,” McKenzie said. “James got out here and hit it with a board and it let go.”

McKenzie said she had a deep bite on her leg and bites on each hand.
“We are so thankful the children weren’t touched,” she said, “but it scared them nearly to death.”

Nellie McKenzie and Kendra Wallace were treated at Randolph Hospital. McKenzie was started on strong antibiotics and had the first series of rabies shots. On Tuesday evening, she said she wasn’t feeling very well and was afraid to go into the yard.

“I am sitting on the deck, and it’s up high,” she said in a telephone interview.

Jodi Wilson, Asheboro animal control officer, said the fox appeared so suddenly the women didn’t know which direction it came from. An animal that aggressive is in the early stages of the disease, Wilson said.

“A rabid animal is either very aggressive or acting very stupid ... actually, they are in a stupor, and stagger around like they are drunk. That is the last stage and they die within a few days,” Wilson said. “Until then, any animal or person who comes in contact with them is at risk, even if they aren’t actually bitten.”

MiMi Cooper, Randolph County health director, said this is the eighth case this year. In 2006, six rabies cases were reported in Randolph County.

As recently as May 24, Cooper said, area resident Nancy Toomes reported being bitten by a rabid fox. Toomes said she arrived at her home off U.S. 64 East and was attacked by a fox that had gotten under her car. Toomes was bitten several times on the ankle and is currently undergoing treatment for rabies.

Toomes reports unpleasant side effects from the vaccine, including headache, swelling, emotional swings and blurred vision. Toomes said her doctor told her the side effects vary in individuals and some people have few or none.

The series of shots is very expensive, Toomes said, and estimates that her total treatment will cost upwards of $6,000.

Wilson said that the results from tests on that fox had come back positive for rabies. The fox on Oak Drive was the first one in the city this year.

“We do have rabies in the county and in the city of Asheboro,” Wilson said. “It is very important for people to know that. Get your animals vaccinated and be aware of what’s in your yard. Pay attention to everything.”

Rabies is a viral infection common in foxes, raccoons, skunks and bats, but any animal can be infected with rabies, said Cooper, and her office has even seen cases that involve cattle. Rabies is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal, she said. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), domestic animals account for less than 10 percent of the reported rabies cases, with cats, cattle, and dogs most often reported rabid.

Rabies virus infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy and ultimately death, say CDC experts. Early symptoms of rabies in humans are nonspecific, consisting of fever, headache, and general malaise. As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hyper-salivation, difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia, which is fear of water. Death usually occurs within days of the onset of symptoms.

The CDC reports that in the United States, human fatalities associated with rabies occur in people who fail to seek medical assistance, usually because they were unaware of their exposure. Cooper said bats in the home present the most common vector of this type of exposure.

“People can be bitten in their sleep and never realize it,” she said. “That’s why we now tell people, if they find a bat in their home, don’t just kill it and dispose of it or run it out of the house. They need to get it to us so that we can test it for rabies.”

There is no cure for rabies after symptoms of the disease appear, said Cooper. That’s why prevention is so important. Since dogs and cats are most at risk of coming into contact with a rabid animal, all pet owners should have their pets vaccinated against the virus, she said.


So I give them the short version while swinging in the hammock.

I tell them a fox attacked a Grandma while she was sitting in a porch swing, and the Granddaughter grabbed the fox and strangled the fox.

I then say..

AWTM: "what do you think about that story?"

Sir Rowland: "I think it is great!"


AWTM: "Well, I feel bad for the Grandma, but it is a GREAT STORY."

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