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Contact: Mark Hart, (520) 388-4445
TUCSON, Ariz. – A suspected rabid fox nearly bit a hiker afternoon on the Miller Creek Trail at Saguaro National Park east near its boundary with the Coronado National Forest.
The gray fox bit the pant leg of the hiker, among a party of three 1.3 miles up the trail. They had previously encountered the fox but had driven it away. The victim was evaluated for possible exposure to rabies, but the bite apparently did not break the skin.
This as the second such incident at Saguaro National Park East this year. There have been 51 confirmed cases of rabies in Arizona this year, 34 in southeast Arizona. Foxes, skunks and bats are the most common carriers
“Avoid contact with and don’t approach wildlife that is behaving abnormally or appears to be ill. If you believe that you see a rabid animal, call us at 1-623-236-7201,” said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson. “In addition, avoid touching any dead wildlife that you may find, and keep your pets away from them as well.”
Vega added that pets such as dogs and cats, as well as livestock like horses, should be regularly vaccinated for rabies. In addition, dogs should be on leashes when outdoors, and a veterinarian consulted if any domestic animals are injured by wildlife, he said. Unvaccinated animals exposed to wildlife with rabies must undergo a four month quarantine.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system, causing encephalitis (swelling of the brain). It is almost always fatal once symptoms appear.
Rabies can be prevented in persons who have come into contact or have been bitten by wild animals through prompt administration of anti-rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin.
When rabies activity within common carriers increases, rabies can "spill over" into other mammal species, such as bobcats, coyotes, javelina, cats, dogs, horses, cows, etc. Rabid animals may appear disoriented or intoxicated, salivate heavily or appear thirsty.
Approximately 15 people are exposed to rabid animals in Arizona annually. People who are exposed must receive vaccine and anti-rabies serum treatment to prevent infection. Prevention information is available at: http://www.azdhs.gov/
For more information, please contact Mark Hart at (520) 388-4445 or e-mail us