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Fox that may be rabid bites 3 people in Westchester County, is still at large

WESTCHESTER, N.Y. — The search is on for a fox believed to be rabid after three people were bitten by the animal in Westchester County over the weekend, health officials said on Tuesday.

Officials said the first attack happened on Saturday at 6 a.m. when a jogger was bitten on Lee Boulevard. About 2 1/2 hours later, a man was bitten in his backyard on North Deerfield Road. The third attack happened Sunday at about 12:30 p.m. when a woman was bitten in her backyard.

All three victims are receiving preventive rabies treatment.

Officials believe the fox may be infected with rabies because of its aggressive behavior.

"A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame," health officials said. "It may lose fear of people and become excited and irritable, or, conversely appear particularly passive and lethargic. Staggering and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted."

Westchester County health commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler told anyone who sees a fox to stay away from the animal and call police right away.

“Stay alert and closely supervise children and pets when outside,” she said.

Health officials said residents should stay away from stray or wild animals, keep their trash can lids securely sealed and not leave pet food outside.

A fox has bitten three people in Westchester County as of July 24, 2018. Health officials believe it may be rabid. The animal is seen here in the distance. (Westchester County Health Department)

Any physical contact with a wild or unfamiliar animal should be reported to a health care provider, officials said. Any animal bites or contact with animals suspected of having rabies should be reported to the Westchester County Department of Health at 914-813-5000.

Furthermore, residents are told to keep their pets' preventative rabies vaccines up to date. New York State law requires dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies and receive regular booster shots.

For more information, go to http://www.westchestergov.com/health or call the RABIES INFOLINE at (914) 813-5010.