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Young Spotsylvania girls bitten by a rabid beaver in Lake Anna.
Alyssa (left) and Annabella Radnovich pose for a photo at the Virginia Aquarium earlier this summer.
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Date published: 7/18/2012
Two Spotsylvania County sisters are improving after being bitten by a beaver with a rare case of rabies.
It's just the fourth time in the past decade that a beaver in Virginia has been confirmed to have rabies, said Stuart Hutter, an epidemiologist with the Virginia Department of Health. Foxes, raccoons and skunks are the most common carriers, he said.
Sisters Annabella and Alyssa Radnovich were bitten while swimming in Lake Anna at about 11 a.m. Sunday. They were transported by ambulance to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, where they were treated and released.
"They're doing much better," their mother, Wendy Radnovich, said Tuesday.
Alyssa, 11, received about 15 stitches on her upper thigh, her mom said.
Annabella, 8, has bandages covering three wounds just above her knee. Her injuries were deeper than her sister's and cut through muscle, Wendy Radnovich said.
Doctors said that closing Annabella's wounds would increase the risk of infection.
Both girls are receiving shots for rabies. The health department had the beaver's body tested and determined it had the viral disease, which affects the central nervous system and causes an inability to swallow.
As of June 30, there had been 286 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year, according to the Virginia Department of Health. This is the first confirmed case of a beaver with rabies in 2012.
The attack occurred while the girls were swimming near Sorbie Cove in Louisa County on Sunday, said Louisa sheriff's Maj. Donald Lowe.
"I've been around a long time, and I've never really heard of anybody getting bit by a beaver," said Lowe, a 23-year veteran of the Louisa Sheriff's Office.
The sisters were on the second day of a weeklong vacation with their father, stepmother and other relatives, Wendy Radnovich said. Several other children were in the water, but none of them was bitten.
Alyssa initially thought a cousin was messing with her after she felt a bump on her leg, her mom said.
"She could see this dark shadow underneath her, so she thought it was a person," Wendy Radnovich said.
She realized it wasn't her cousin, and the beaver bit her as she tried to leave the water.
Don't panic, but don't ignore the bite, either. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and lots of water. Washing thoroughly will greatly lessen the chance
If possible, capture the animal under a large box
It's critically important that you notify your family doctor immediately and explain how you got the bite. Your doctor will want to know whether the animal has been captured. If necessary, your doctor will give the anti-rabies treatment recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service.
Report the bite to the local health department.