Fairfax County Animal Control Officers responded to three reports of animals that have come into contact with humans over the past two days. The first incident occurred at Riverbend Park, 8700 Potomac Hills Street in Great Falls, on Wednesday, March 2 around 8 a.m. A woman was running on a trail from the nature center to the river when she encountered and was bitten by a fox. She self-reported to Reston Hospital Center and is undergoing preventative treatment for potential exposure to rabies. The trail has been temporarily closed.
The second incident occurred at around 9 a.m. the same day, in the 9100 block of Potomac Woods Lane, which is in proximity to Riverbend Park. A woman went to check on her chickens and was confronted and bitten by a fox. She too self-reported to Reston Hospital Center for appropriate treatment. The fox is still at large.
The third incident was reported to have occurred at around 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 3 at a home in Clifton. A man reported that he was awakened by a raccoon in his home. He fought the raccoon off and was bitten during the struggle. He was eventually able to place his foot on the raccoon’s throat until it stopped breathing. He bagged and transported the animal to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and then sought medical treatment.
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. More information on the rabies virus, exposure prevention tips, and what to do if an animal bites, is available: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd/rabies/