An aggressive fox that had attacked at least nine people on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol had rabies, health officials announced Wednesday.
The female fox was captured Tuesday after reports of several attacks and was later euthanized so testing could be done.
“The DC Public Health lab has confirmed the fox that was captured yesterday tested positive for the rabies virus,” the department said in a statement Wednesday. “DC Health is contacting all human victims who were bitten by the fox.”
The animal’s kits were also found and captured. What happens to them in unclear.
The department said it is “working to determine next steps for the fox kits.”
It added no other foxes were found in the area, and there’s no plan for a mass roundup of foxes, which are frequently spotted around Washington.
Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif. said he was bitten on his leg on the way office Monday. Bera, who is also a medical doctor, initially made light of the incident.
“Thanks everyone for the well wishes! I feel healthy and am glad to be back at work. Despite the dustup, I hold no grudge or ill will against @thecapitolfox,” he tweeted, adding he hopes the fox and family are relocated.
He even snapped a photo of the perpetrator.
Thanks everyone for the well wishes! I feel healthy and am glad to be back at work.— Ami Bera, M.D. (@RepBera) April 6, 2022
Despite the dustup, I hold no grudge or ill will against @thecapitolfox. Hoping the 🦊 and its family are safely relocated and wishing it a happy and prosperous future. https://t.co/ys9aifa2MN
Of course, rabies is a fatal disease once symptoms develop and no laughing matter.
And while Dr. Bera doesn’t know for sure if it was the rabid fox that nipped at him, he is undergoing a regime of rabies prophylaxis treatment, which involves a series of shots.
Meanwhile, DC Public Health is asking anyone who has come into contact with the fox or its babies to reach out. Rabies exposure requires immediate treatment. Flyers are also being posted in the area to find other potential victims.
Politico reporter Ximena Bustillo said she is one such victim of the fox, and has been tweeting developments in the story.
That feel when you get bit by a fox leaving Capitol cause that’s of course something I expect in THE MIDDLE OF DC.— Ximena (@Ximena_Bustillo) April 5, 2022
You’re telling me I survived three years of a pandemic— Ximena (@Ximena_Bustillo) April 6, 2022
to be bit by a rabid fox
The fox’s Twitter account posted an ode to her moment in the spotlight.
“Gone but not forgotten,” it read. “May you remember me fondly.”
Gone but not forgotten. May you remember me fondly.— Capitol Fox (@thecapitolfox) April 6, 2022
🎶 In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you feel 🎶 https://t.co/vwac4MSk0D
And, naturally other tributes poured in.
In Memoriam 🦊 pic.twitter.com/XMaZThkaEs— Chris Okey (@ChrisOkeyDC) April 6, 2022
RIP Capitol fox.