A woman strangled a rabid fox to death after it attacked her while she was in the yard of her home in Pittsgrove Township, New Jersey, on July 18.
Tammy DuBois told NJ.com that she heard a rustling in the bushes while she was outside that day. Shortly after, a fox ran out from the bushes and jumped on her leg. DuBois said she backed away from the animal, which was “going crazy, making noises” and moving its mouth.
The fox began to bite her right calf, but she was able to escape and made for her front door. However, the animal pursued her and before she was able to make it inside, the fox began to attack her right calf again. In a moment of survival, she grabbed the fox’s snout with one hand and held it tightly shut while she used her other hand to strangle the fox around the neck, she told NJ.com.
“I couldn’t do anything else to get it away from me,” she explained to NJ.com. “I don’t like to kill anything.”
After the fox went limp, DuBois went inside, told her neighbor what happened, and had her husband, Bob, take her to the hospital, where she was put on a two-week series of rabies treatment. Animal control retrieved the fox, which tested positive for rabies on Monday.
Newsweek reached out to Pittsgrove Township but did not receive a response in time for publication. This is the first reported case of a rabid fox in New Jersey in 2018, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. From January 1 through June 30 there have been a total of 72 rabies cases, with raccoons leading the case list at 49 cases. A total of 1,103 specimens had been tested as of June 30.
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus found in the saliva of a rabid animal, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. Raccoons, bats, skunks, groundhogs and foxes represent 95 percent of rabies cases in the United States and small rodents are rarely affected.
“Rabid animals are usually either, vicious and aggressive, or may appear to be drunk and have trouble walking,” the state department website explains. It also notes that some rabid animals may appear perfectly normal so people should stay away from all wild and stray animals.
In the event a person is bitten by an animal, the New Jersey Department of Health recommends cleaning the wound immediately, seeking medical attention and reporting the bite to the local health department.
Once a rabies infection is established, the disease is almost always fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, a series of shots administered quickly after possible infection can prevent the infection from taking hold. The shot series includes one given immediately at the site of the bite and then four other shots given over the course of 14 days.
Salem County Spokeswoman Brenda P. Banks told NJ.com that DuBois was the first person to be attacked by a rabid animal in New Jersey in 2018.
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