Rabid? Aggressive fox spotted near UVA
Update 8/27 8:50am: On Wednesday, August 26, the UVA-area fox bit a passerby and, according to city spokesperson Ric Barrick, it may have also bitten one of the first two residents who encountered the animal. Barrick says both injured residents are being treated for rabies, a treatment that involves a series of painful injections, and that UVA has hired an outside firm to capture the fox, who will be euthanized and tested for rabies.
Charlottesville police and an outside firm hired by UVA are hunting a fox in the UVA/Rugby Road area after it behaved aggressively on two separate occasions in the past 24 hours, causing one area resident to fall and injure herself while fleeing the animal. No one has been bitten, says Barrick. A press release from the city says humane traps have been set for the animal so that "routine tests" can be performed.
Although the release makes no mention of rabies, that is one common reason for wild animals to behave aggressively and abnormally. According to numerous scientific sources, however, the only way to diagnose an animal with rabies is a post-mortem brain biopsy. If you see the animal, do not approach it, say police. Instead, call 911 with an exact location. If the animal does attack, it will be even more critical to determine quickly whether it is rabid– as this savvy woman realized when she was attacked by a fox in Arizona last year. Rabies is 100 percent fatal in humans and animals if not treated promptly with a series of vaccinations.