FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) — Two separate rabies exposures have health authorities warning people in Frederick County to be careful.
Alex DeMetrick reports both incidents involved foxes—one of which attacked a man.
A Youtube video captured a fox stricken with rabies, a viral disease that is spread through the infected animal’s saliva. Close contact is dangerous; a bite is almost always lethal if left untreated.
Bud Eyler was mowing grass when he was attacked by a fox last week in Frederick County.
“I turned around and this fox had a hold of me and I started shaking my leg and yelling and it wouldn’t let go,” Eyler said.
The fox bit Eyler’s ankle and he used his lawn mower to fight it off.
“It finally broke loose and still come back two, three times,” Eyler said.
The fox had bolted out from under some trailers. A neighbor shot and killed it; it tested positive for rabies.
“I went in the Fourth of July and got two shots. I went Sunday morning and got five more shots. I went in yesterday and got one shot and next Thursday, I get my final shot,” he said.
“I don’t even know how it got in my yard,” said Iris Smith.
Smith’s dogs attacked and killed another fox a few days later in a Thurmont neighborhood.
“I called Animal Control and I was just so shocked it was positive for rabies. I was really shocked,” she said.
So Frederick County’s Health Department is warning people to be careful.
“Avoid wildlife contact. Avoid contact with strays because you don’t know if the strays have been vaccinated,” said George Keller.
While most rabies infections happen in rural areas, an incident like the one in this neighborhood is far from unique.
This summer, Ocean City has reported finding animals with rabies and just last month in Baltimore City, three rabies cases were confirmed.
“I lived here all my life, never had a fox here. Luckily [the dogs] all had their rabies shots but I had to get their booster shots,” said Iris Smith.
No matter where you live, health authorities say the best safeguard against rabies is to have your pet vaccinated.