Police are warning one Fairfax neighborhood to be extra vigilant this week after a rabid fox was discovered in a resident’s driveway.
A resident in the area of Chain Bridge Road and Whitehead Street called police on Thursday to report that a fox had been lying in his driveway for several hours. He said that the fox appeared to be sick and suffering.
An animal control officer picked up the animal and took it to a local veterinarian, where it was put to sleep.
The Fairfax County Health Department tested the fox and determined that it had rabies, a deadly virus that can be transferred through saliva and causes aggressive behavior.
The fox is the latest rabid animal caught in Fairfax County in recent weeks. Earlier this month, a pair of rabid beavers terrorized residents elsewhere in the county.
On Sept. 4, a rabid beaver attacked an 83-year-old woman, knocking her off her feet and biting her as she climbed out of Lake Barcroft
The same week, on Sept. 8, another rabid beaver leapt out of a pond and chased children at the Hidden Pond Nature Center in Springfield.
Police said that there were no reports of human exposure to the fox.
According to police, there have been reports of 36 rabid animals in the county this year: 19 raccoons, five skunks, five bats, three foxes, two beavers, a cat, and the fox. In 2011, there were a total of 41 rabid animal reports, police said.
Coincidentally, Sept. 24-30 is Rabies Awareness Week. Police share the following safety reminders:
— Keep all cats and dogs current on their rabies vaccination (required at 4 months old)
— Report sick or injured wildlife
— Rabid animals may appear clumsy; they may walk in circles or stumble into inanimate objects.
— Just because an animal is seen during the day, does not mean that it is rabid.
— Keep pets secure and on leash to minimize potential exposure
— Don’t feed pets outside as this attracts wildlife
— Don’t feed wildlife (mammals) and keep trash secured.
— Fairfax County averages about 50 positive rabies cases each year with the prime carrier (vector) being raccoons.
— Fairfax County follows up with all positive rabies tests by educating the public (local Community) through mailings and a canvass.