Lehigh County residents are warned to beware of unfamiliar animals following three rabies attacks in recent weeks.
A fox that attacked a man in West Bethlehem on Wednesday has tested positive for rabies, city officials say.
The attack occurred on Stanford Road between Eaton Avenue and Shelbourne Drive. Another fox attack occurred the same day in the same neighborhood, but officials don't know if the same animal was involved.
Both men who were bitten are undergoing rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.
A third attack took place May 8 in East Allentown near the border with Bethlehem along Tacoma Road between Catasauqua Road and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Anyone who sees a potentially rabid animal should contact police immediately.
The first sign of rabies in an animal is usually a change in its behavior:
- A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame.
- It may lose fear of people and become excited and irritable or appear friendly and affectionate.
- Tell children to avoid unfamiliar animals
- Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if an animal has bitten them
Follow these steps to help reduced the risk of rabies:
- Keep family pets up to date with rabies vaccinations.
- Avoid unfamiliar and wild animals.
- Don't leave pets outside unattended.
- Don't leave food outside for pets.
- Don't feed stray and wild animals.
Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. The virus is transmitted through contact with the saliva of infected animals.
Anyone bitten by a rabid animal or having contact with its saliva should receive treatment. When administered before symptoms develop, the treatment is 100 percent effective. Once symptoms occur, however, the disease is almost always fatal.