Multiple people in Western New York were bitten by a rabid grey fox. The animal bit several people on Friday, June 9, 2023.

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What Is Rabies?

According to the Centers For Disease Control,

Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes, although any mammal can get rabies.

New York State requires all dogs, cats, and domesticated ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies starting at 4 months old. Owners are required to keep pets up-to-date with regular booster shots.

Is Rabies Deadly To Humans?

The World Health Organization says that rabies is fatal to humans once clinical signs appear. The majority, 99 percent, of rabies cases in humans are due to the bite of an infected dog.

Rabies is estimated to cause 59,000 human deaths annually in over 150 countries, with 95% of cases occurring in Africa and Asia. Due to underreporting and uncertain estimates, this number is likely a gross underestimate. The burden of disease is disproportionally borne by rural poor populations, with approximately half of cases attributable to children under 15 years of age.


Credit: Animal Planet via Youtube

Rabid Grey Fox Bites Multiple People In Chautauqua County

Health officials confirmed that the grey fox that bit multiple people was infected with the deadly rabies virus. The incidents took place on June 9, 2023, in the Bemus Point area near Route 430. A New York State Department of Environmental Conservation responded and killed the animal. The County Health Department has followed up with victims to ensure they get proper medical attention to prevent the virus from becoming deadly. Jessica Wuerstle, Chautauqua County Director of Environmental Health, said,

This incident should serve as a reminder to residents that animal rabies is a serious public health concern and continues to be present in Chautauqua County. According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 90% of rabies cases occur in wildlife. Pets and livestock can be protected from rabies by keeping rabies vaccines up-to-date.

If you were bitten by the grey fox in the Bemus Point area and have not received medical attention, please call the Chautauqua County Health Department at 716-753-4783.

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