UPDATE: Great Falls-Area Fox Tested Positive for Rabies

A rabies test on the fox that bit a 71-year-old woman and attacked a house cat in the Great Falls area on March 7 returned positive. The Health Department is working with the woman to provide appropriate care. The cat continues to be quarantined.

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/

Virginia law requires all dogs and cats more than four months old to be currently vaccinated for rabies. The county offers low-cost rabies clinics to help maintain your pet’s rabies vaccination. Check out this flyer for 2017 clinic dates around the county:


(Original release 3/7/17) Fox Bites Woman Several Times, Later Attacks House Cat; Animal Protection Police Collect Animal for Testing

Reston Police District – Animal Protection Police Officers (APP) responded for a report of a fox that bit a 71-year-old woman multiple times today (March 7). The woman was walking in the 600 block of Ad Hoc Road, in Great Falls, around 3 p.m. when the fox approached from behind and bit her multiple times in the lower body. She turned to fight the fox off and was bitten a few more times. After successfully fighting off the fox, she went to a nearby neighbor’s home and called police. She was taken to the hospital with serious, but non-life threatening-injuries.

Approximately one hour later, APP officers received another call for a fox attacking a cat in the 400 block of Chesapeake Drive, about three miles from Ad Hoc Road. The cat’s owner, a 54-year-old woman, kicked the fox away from her cat, and with her husband’s help, they trapped the fox and held it until officers arrived.

The cat, a 9-year-old brown tabby, did not require medical attention but was quarantined. The cat owner was not harmed. The fox was collected, euthanized and taken to the Health Department for rabies testing. APP officers believe the same fox was involved in both incidents.