A fox that bit a California congressman and at least eight others near the US Capitol has tested positive for rabies and has been euthanized, authorities say.
The Washington Public Health Laboratory confirmed that a vixen captured on Tuesday had tested positive for the rabies virus, NBC News reported Wednesday. Health officials were contacting the nine people confirmed to have been bitten by the fox.
The positive rabies test came Wednesday night, NBC News reported.
DC Health officials could not be reached Wednesday evening for comment.
Representative Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) identified himself as one of the fox attack victims. Bera, a doctor, told reporters he was walking near a Senate office building on Monday when he felt something around his ankle.
“Yeah, I was just walking, like I often would, in that park near Russell [Senate Office Building] and I felt something rush – totally unprovoked, right – down the back of my leg,” Bera said, adding that he was grateful to have an umbrella with him to help fend off the animal. Savage. “It was like a little dog.”
The disclosure of a fox attack on a congressman follows a memo released Tuesday warning of possible fox dens on Capitol grounds.
The Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms sent out an alert notifying members of Congress and staff that U.S. Capitol Police received reports on Monday of people being attacked or bitten by a fox.
Bera said the bite did not appear to puncture her sock and skin. He said he would take a seven-shot rabies regimen as a precaution and advised everyone on the Capitol grounds to take wildlife encounters seriously.
Washington public health officials said the kits from the fox were captured Wednesday morning and officials were “working to determine next steps,” NBC News reported.