A coyote that bit three people before it was fatally shot by a police officer in Fairfax County has tested positive for rabies, and residents who were bitten are urged to get medical treatment.
Rabies is a “serious disease caused by a virus that can infect wildlife, particularly foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats, and domestic animals, such as dogs and cats,” the health department said in a statement. Humans who have been exposed to rabies can be treated with a series of shots.
Authorities from the county health department also said in the statement that rabies can be “passed along when an infected animal’s saliva or central nervous tissue enters an open wound, mouth, nose or eyes of another mammal.”
The coyote bit three adults and two dogs over the weekend at Lake Accotink Park in the Springfield area. The park was closed over the weekend because of the incidents. A police officer was also bitten Sunday while looking for the coyote. The officer shot the animal, and it was later found dead nearby.
Anyone who may have come in contact with the coyote should seek medical treatment and can call health officials at 703-246-2411.