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Child Injured by Rabid Fox in Ferguson Township

by on August 07, 2020 2:42 PM

A 3-year-old child sustained minor injuries in an encounter with a fox this week in Ferguson Township.

Police Chief Chris Albright said the red fox, which was located and euthanized by officers, tested positive for rabies. 

The child was playing in a backyard on Wednesday afternoon in the Abington Circle area when the fox approached, Albright said. Lack of fear and aggression are considered unusual behaviors and potential signs of rabies in some wild animals.

The child was scratched by the fox but was otherwise unharmed, according to Albright. The fox also came after one officer who responded to the scene before retreating. Albright said officers immediately recognized the fox may have been rabid.

After an officer shot and killed the fox, it was sent to a lab for testing, where rabies was confirmed.

"Please avoid contact with any wild or stray animals," a release from the Ferguson Township Police Department said. "If you see an animal and they exhibit abnormal behavior, such as excitability, lack of fear or aggression, they may have rabies."

Township residents who see an animal exhibiting any such signs, should notify the Ferguson Township Police Department at (814) 237-1172 or the Pennsylvania Game Commission at (570) 398-4744.

In an area such as the Centre Region with a diversity of wildlife, animals with rabies are not uncommon, Mike Steingraber, state game ward for the North Central region, told in 2017 after a rabid fox attack two people in College Township.

"We have rabies in our area. We’ve had this here for a long time and we’re probably going to have it a lot longer," he said. "It’s just something that exists here in a community like State College that is pretty diverse with wildlife. You’re going to have wildlife diseases as well and rabies is part of that."

For more information about rabies in Pennsylvania:

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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