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The Quick Brown Fox Might Have Rabies
State agencies are raising awareness of the dangers of rabies after an the virus was detected in more animals in Arizona last year.
Rabies has been found in foxes in the east-central regions of the state including parts of Maricopa and Pinal counties.
Animals can infect humans and their pets through bites so people recreating in the area are advised to be aware of the potential danger.
Anne Justice-Allen is a veterinarian at the Arizona Game and Fish Department. She says people and pets in the Superstition Mountains and surrounding suburban areas could be at risk for contact with a diseased animal.
She says there are certain tell-tale signs of a fox with rabies such as being out during the day time. Other characteristics are slightly more obvious.
“There’s been reports of foxes with rabies biting the tires of ATVs for example,” Justice-Allen said.
They could also act too friendly or display a lack of fear of humans.
“Doing things like attacking animals that are much bigger than them so a fox might try and attack a labrador retriever,” she said. “That’s why we want to keep people aware and cautious, keep their pets on leashes, and make sure they’re current on rabies vaccinations.”
Justice-Allen says if you do see an animal that’s behaving abnormally you should do two things.
“Stay away first,” she said. “And then call the Arizona Game and Fish dispatch hotline.”
She says if people or pets are bitten by a wild animal they should report to the veterinarian or doctor immediately even if they are current on shots.
On Saturday, March 10, state agencies will host “Madness in the Mountains: Debunking Myths about Rabies in the Superstitions,” featuring rabies awareness, presentations from public and wildlife health experts, Q&A sessions, and interactive educational booths.