Fox that bit a Northern California lawmaker tested positive for rabies – San Francisco Chronicle

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A fox suspected of biting multiple people, including a representative from a Northern California congressional district, was euthanized, according to media reports.
A mother fox that was captured after biting several people this week — likely including a Northern California lawmaker — has been killed, according to local health officials.
The fox tested positive for the rabies virus, local health officials said.
DC Health said in an email the fox was responsible for nine confirmed “bites” Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The wild animal tested positive for the rabies virus, and local health officials were notifying all victims who were bitten by the fox, a health department spokesperson said in an email.
Local law enforcement officials said at least six people reported being bitten near the Capitol in the last two days, including Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove (Sacramento County).
Bera said he was walking toward the Capitol on Monday evening when he felt something lunge at his ankle. He looked down expecting to see a small dog and used an umbrella to fend off what was actually a fox.
“It’s obviously a very weird event to happen,” Bera told The Chronicle. “I didn’t know that there were foxes living on Capitol Hill.”
Bera, who is a doctor himself, said on Twitter later that night that he was “healthy” and “back at work.” Bera is now receiving a series of rabies shots “in the coming days,” his spokesperson Travis Horne said in an email.
Foxes and other wild animals, such as skunks and raccoons, have been known to carry rabies and are often the main source of infection for humans in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People can get the viral disease if they are bitten or scratched by infected animals.
Shortly after being bitten on Monday, Bera went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after consulting with the Capitol physician. That night he received several vaccinations, including one shot against rabies and tetanus and five injections of immunoglobulin, Horne said.
The mother fox that was euthanized Wednesday was found that morning with her kits on Capitol Hill grounds, local officials said. A health department spokesperson said they were working on determining the “next steps for the fox kits.”
It’s unclear whether the mother fox was the same animal that bit Bera, but local health officials said no other foxes were found in the area Wednesday.
While the congressman joked about his experience on Twitter, he reminded his followers that animal bites are “extremely serious” and encouraged people who have been bitten to see a physician.
He said he was sad to hear that the fox was euthanized, “but I do want to keep the public safe.”
Jessica Flores (she/her) is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @jesssmflores
Jessica Flores is a reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle. Before joining The Chronicle in 2021, she worked for USA Today, NPR affiliate KPCC and Curbed LA. Originally from L.A., she received her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles.


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