DEM Cautions Hopkinton Residents About Fox Bite Incidents
One Fox Captured, Tests Positive for Rabies; Second Fox Remains in Wild
PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management cautions residents of Hopkinton that there have been two separate incidents in the past two days of people being bitten by foxes in unprovoked attacks. One fox has tested positive for rabies; the other fox has not been captured.
In the first instance, last night a person in the area of Sweet Valley Estates was using a weed whacker in the yard when bitten. Hopkinton police called DEM police officers, who captured the fox and brought it to the RI Department of Health Laboratory, where it subsequently tested positive for rabies. A second person was bitten during the capture.
DEM officers responded to a new instance of another individual in the same area bitten by a fox today in an unprovoked attack. That fox has not been captured.
The three people bitten will undergo treatment, which consists of a series of vaccinations.
DEM’s state veterinarian Scott Marshall, DVM, says that all Rhode Island residents should take sensible precautions, such as staying away from wildlife, vaccinating pets, securing garbage, and not leaving pet food outside. Those in Hopkinton should be particularly aware, and report any contact to DEM’s environmental police office at 222-3070.
Rabid animals have been found in every community in Rhode Island except New Shoreham. Last year, DEM’s environmental police office received more than 2,500 rabies-related calls. In addition, approximately 1,200 animal bites were reported to the Department of Health and 285 people were treated with the rabies vaccine in 2007.
Rabies virus is widespread among wildlife in Rhode Island. Approximately1,200 animals in Rhode Island, primarily skunks, bats, and raccoons, have tested positive for rabies since the state’s first confirmed case in 1994.