ARLINGTON, Va. — Arlington locals have been flagged to be on alert: a possibly rabid fox may have been on the prowl across the county.
Arlington County Animal Control said that they responded to calls about a disoriented fox in the Arlingwood neighborhood near the 4100 blocks of 41 Street and Randolph Street North, southeast of Chain Bridge Road and George Washington Parkway.
The fox showed signs of rabies and was caught and removed by Animal Control, they said.
"Rabies is a disease that people and animals can catch from the bite or scratch of infected animals," a release from the county said. "It is fatal if medical care is not given promptly. If you, your child, or your pet may have come into contact with this fox, please call Arlington County Animal Control at (703) 931-9241 immediately."
Although authorities are warning residents to stay vigilant, they have not yet reported that a person or pet was bitten in the area.
The news is especially alarming, given the recent incident of a rabid fox on Capitol Hill in early April. The animal was caught and euthanized after attacking a California congressman and several others. The fox kits were also euthanized out of caution that they, too, were likely infected.
It's also the second time this year that the county has faced the issue of a rabid fox. Residents in the Gulf Branch neighborhood of Arlington were on high alert after a rabid fox bit a person and three pets on Feb. 2.
Officials specified that Arlington residents are now encouraged to:
- Ensure pets are up to date on their rabies and distemper vaccines
- Keep dogs on a leash at all times and keep cats inside
- Not approach or feed any wild animals
- Feed pets inside
- Remove wildlife attractants from yards, such as unsecured garbage cans, open containers of food, and compost.
"If you come across a deceased rabies-vector animal (including cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons, and groundhogs) in your yard or a public space, do not handle the animal and Animal Control immediately," the Animal Welfare League of Arlington urged in a statement.