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Beaver bites girls at Lake Anna
Two Spotsylvania County sisters are recovering 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 around 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.
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 Sheriff’s Office.
The sisters were on the second day of a week-long vacation with their father, stepmother and other relatives, Wendy Radnovich said. Several other children were in the water, but none of them were 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.
The beaver then started circling Annabella and bit her in the back of the leg.
Asked what she initially thought the animal was, Annabella said: “An electric eel that was very hairy.”
Annabella said her leg feels better, but she doesn’t plan to go in the water anytime soon. All of the other kids that were with her feel the same way, Wendy Radnovich said.
The girls’ uncle shot the beaver with a BB gun, then killed it with a knife, she said. The Louisa Sheriff’s Office turned the animal over to the health department for testing.
Alyssa is a rising sixth-grader at Thornburg Middle School, and Annabella is a rising third-grader at Cedar Forest Elementary School.
Alyssa is back at Lake Anna with her family and Annabella was with her mom on Tuesday. Annabella hopes to return to Lake Anna soon, her mom said.
“She’s been looking forward to this vacation for a long time,” Wendy Radnovich said. “She’s really sad that she can’t be there with everybody.”
This story was first reported by the Fox affiliate in Washington.