On November 3, 2008, a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Officer responded to a reported fox attack involving a jogger currently being treated at Yavapai Regional Medical Center. The bite victim had been able to contain the fox in the trunk of her vehicle which was parked outside of the hospital.
The jogger, a Chino Valley resident, told the Animal Control Officer she was attacked while running a trail around 4:45 P.M. at the base of Granite Mountain. She was about a mile into her run, when she came upon a fox in a clearing adjacent to the trail. The fox did not initially appear aggressive, but as she backed away, he attacked by lunging at her feet. He bit her foot and then started towards her knee, at which time she grabbed him by the neck in an attempt to pull him away. When she did this, the fox bit into her arm and would not release his bite even as she tried to choke him. Assuming the fox was rabid and understanding that containing the animal for testing would be essential, she ran back towards car with the fox still maintaining a bite in her arm. Once at her car, she was able to pull the fox’s jaw open, release his grip on her arm, and wrap the fox tightly in a sweatshirt she had been wearing. She threw the fox into the trunk of her car and drove quickly to Yavapai Regional Medical Center.
At the hospital, the YCSO Animal Control Officer was bitten while removing the fox from the trunk.
On November 4th, the fox was tested at a hospital in Phoenix which confirmed a rabid infection.
The jogging bite victim is currently undergoing a post exposure rabies treatment program involving a series of five vaccinations over a specified time period. Since the Animal Control Officer had already received a pre-exposure rabies vaccination, the treatment will only involve two or three successive vaccinations.
Remember, it is very difficult to prevent the attack of a wild rabid animal once in progress. Although containing the animal for testing is beneficial, immediate treatment is always the priority. When outdoors, stay clear of animals that seem unusually aggressive and fearless and report those who appear rabid.