Coyote that bit 4 people, 2 dogs in Fairfax Co. had rabies

The coyote that was shot and killed by a Fairfax County police officer Sunday after it bit three people, two dogs, and one of the officers searching for it, has tested positive for rabies.

Rabies had been suspected in the attacks near Lake Accotink Park in Virginia, and it was confirmed by lab tests on Monday.



The Fairfax County Health Department said on Tuesday that if someone you know, or a pet touched, was bitten or scratched by the animal between Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5, you should call the Fairfax County Health Department Rabies Program at 703-246-2433, TTY 711.

The health department cautioned that animals with rabies “may act normally during the early stages of the disease, making it difficult to know if the animal is infected.”

“As the disease progresses, animals often show changes in behavior. For example, wild animals may act very docile and domestic animals may become aggressive.”

Other important steps to protect yourself and your pets from rabies:

  • Do not allow your pets to roam unattended.
  • Do not adopt or feed wild or stray animals.
  • Seal openings in your house so that wildlife cannot enter.
  • Report animal bites, animals that are acting strangely (including domestic animals), or altercations between wild and domestic animals to Fairfax County’s Animal Protection Police at 703-691-2131.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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