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Coyote killed by cop after biting people in Fairfax tests positive for rabies

The coyote bit three people before it was killed by a police officer over the weekend

Changing leaves frame a bicyclist near a bench overlooking Lake Accotink on Nov. 1, 2021, in Springfield, Va. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

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.

Officials with the county’s health department said a lab test performed Monday confirmed that the coyote had rabies.

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.

Coyote that bit people in Fairfax killed after attacking cop

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.