The fox that attacked a young girl Saturday as she was walking in Lakewood was rabid, the county’s health department said Tuesday.
“Results we received this morning show that the fox was positive for rabies,” Daniel E. Regenye, the public health coordinator for the Ocean County Health Department, told TheLakewoodScoop.com.
Regenye said that officials suspected the fox was rabid since it attacked the 3-year-old girl unprovoked.
“Foxes are normally afraid and shy of people,” he said, “and its behavior, attacking someone without provocation, certainly gave us concern that it was rabid.”
Regenye said that the girl immediately began a treatment regimen, which will continue for the next 14 days.
The girl was walking with a sibling on 14th Street at about 6:30 p.m. when she was attacked by the wild animal. She sustained scratches on her arm, leg and lip. When police arrived, the animal attacked the officer, prompting them to shoot at it, killing it.
Fourteen animals have tested positive for rabies in Ocean County so far this year — two bats, a cat, six raccoons, three skunks and two foxes.
Since testing of animals for rabies is generally limited to those which have already attacked a resident or domestic pet, the actual number of rabid animals is estimated to be much higher.