FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Three people in Fairfax County have been bitten by wild animals, and officials are concerned that rabies may be a factor, according to a press release from the Fairfax County Police Department, Public Affairs Bureau.
Around 8 a.m. Wednesday, Fairfax County Animal Control officers responded to Riverbend Park in Great Falls where a woman had been running on a trail, when a fox bite her, according to the release. The trail has been temporarily closed, and the woman is undergoing preventive treatment for potential rabies exposure at a local hospital.
According to the release, about an hour later another woman was bite by a fox in the 9100 block of Potomac Woods Lane, which is about 2 miles from the first incident at Riverbend Park. The woman was bitten while she was outdoors checking on her chickens. She is also undergoing preventive treatment at a local hospital.
Police say the fox or foxes are still at large.
Thursday morning a man was attacked by a raccoon in his Clifton home. The man fought the raccoon off, and according to the release was "eventually able to place his foot on the raccoon's throat until it stopped breathing." The man took the raccoon to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter before seeking medical attention for himself, the release said.
The release stated the following:
Animal Control would like to remind residents that it is unknown, at present, whether or not the fox/foxes are rabid, however aggressive tendencies such as those exhibited in these cases are one of the signs of rabies. They would also like to remind residents to keep their dogs on leash when walking in public areas.
Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that can infect both people and animals. People usually get rabies when they are bitten by an animal that is sick with the disease. Protect yourself and your family from rabies: stay away from wild animals and be sure pets are vaccinated against rabies every year.
If bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention right away. In Fairfax County, residents should also immediately report animal bites, as well as sick or injured animals, to Animal Control Services at 703-691-2131, TTY 703-877-3715.
For more information on the rabies virus and what to do if approached by, or bitten click here.