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Las Vegas Woman bitten by fox with rabies

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The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish along with the Department of Health are warning people to be cautious when interacting with wild animals, after a woman was bitten by a fox over the weekend which tested positive for rabies.

“It’s important to stay away from any animals acting sick, fearless, aggressive or friendly,” Dr. Kerry Mower, a wildlife disease specialist with the Department of Game and Fish said in a department newsletter. She added that it is also important that people avoid feeding wildlife.

The advice comes after a woman in Las Vegas, New Mexico, attempted to give a fox a bowl of dog food when it bit her on the wrist and hand, leaving her with wounds on both arms.

Once the officer arrived at the scene, he was able to locate the fox, which had abnormal behavior consistent with rabies, according to the release. The officer then attempted to capture the fox but when it became aggressive and again tried to attack, he euthanized it.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can be spread among mammals, most commonly foxes, bats, skunks, coyotes and racoons, but can also be transmitted to humans and pets, the release states.

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The departments give several tips for people to stay safe from rabies by staying away from wild or unfamiliar animals and should not try to feed or touch wild animals whether they be dead or alive.

Pet owners should also make sure their pets have their rabies vaccinations and wear both their current license and rabies tags on their collar.

Cats and dogs should be kept on a leash at all times to avoid coming into contact with animals that could carry rabies, according to the release. If a cat or dog is bitten or scratched, pet owners are advised to call their pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound appears to be superficial, according to the release.

If a person is bitten by an animal or comes into contact with an animal’s saliva, they should wash the exposed site immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. The bite should be reported to local conservation officers, animal control personnel or health officials, to discuss getting a rabies protective vaccination, according to the release.

Those who need assistance in handling wildlife should contact their local Department of Game and Fish or call radio dispatch at 505-827-9376 for help with wildlife that acts oddly.

To learn more about rabies, visit the website of the New Mexico Department of Health at nmhealth.org.