There have now been two confirmed cases of rabies in local foxes.
A second animal in west Flagstaff tested positive for the viral disease, as confirmed by the Coconino County Public Health Services District. This particular fox was located south of Interstate 40, north of Zuni Drive and east of Interstate 17. The fox was tested after a resident who was walking in the area was attacked and treated for post-exposure. This comes after a different fox in a similar area also tested positive for rabies last month. This brings the total number of rabies cases for the county up to 10 thus far this year. This is quite the significant rise, considering there were only three confirmed cases in 2017, two in 2016 and two in 2015. There were eight cases throughout 2014.
At this time, health officials are reminding residents to be cautious when it comes to wildlife. You can follow these tips to keep you and your beloved pets safe:
- Do not approach wildlife and keep your pets away from wild animals in your backyard and on walks. You should be especially careful to avoid wildlife exhibiting odd or strange behaviors such as aggression, lack of fear toward humans, staggering or foaming at the mouth and nocturnal mammals coming out during the day.
- Do your duty to obey leash laws and make sure all your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
- Refrain from picking up, touching or feeding wild or unfamiliar animals even if they do not seem aggressive or sick. Call county officials for help instead of trying to do so on your own.
- Report any aggressive or erratic behavior from wildlife.
- Seek veterinary care for pets if they are bitten by wildlife, and humans should seek immediate medical attention if they receive a bite or come into contact with a wild animal.
You can report unusual or odd wildlife sightings or behavior by calling the Coconino County Public Health Services District Animal Management Program at (928) 679-8756. For wildlife emergencies, please call 911.
For more details on the rabies disease, please visit www.azhealth.gov/rabies.