VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Neighbors are on edge after a jogger was attacked by a fox on a busy bike path in Virginia Beach. City officials say a rabid fox was found near the same area where the jogger was hurt.
This happened Tuesday on Maple Street which is in the Cape Story by the Sea neighborhood.
The jogger posted about it on social media, saying she was bitten during the run-in with the animal. It’s not clear if the fox that tested positive for rabies is the same one that attacked the woman.
People who live in the area say the news is unsettling.
Regulars who use the bike path in the Cape Story by the Sea neighborhood said it’s a peaceful place to unwind, but that feeling has been replaced by some uneasiness instead.
“We actually live right along the trail,” said Stacey Guerrero. “I didn’t think I would have to keep an eye out for rabid foxes.”
A woman posted on Nextdoor saying she was jogging just before 6 a.m. when a fox jumped at her. According to the post, the jogger had to kick the fox several times before it would stop coming after her. She was treated for her injuries and received shots. The city said the rabid fox is dead.
Still, neighbors are on edge.
“Really just looking in the bushes and making sure there’s nothing lurking, I don’t see any eyes looking at me,” said Paul Lerner.
Lerner said it’s not unusual to see foxes out in this area. His doorbell camera caught a fox running across his front yard the day before the jogger was attacked.
“My son and my daughter were here and they said they saw a fox move the bed. It picked it up and moved it,” said Lerner. “You connect the dots and you’re thinking was that the fox? Was that the culprit?”
According to the city’s website, symptoms of an animal infected with rabies include behavioral changes such as anxiousness, aggression or, in wild animals, no fear of humans. As the disease progresses, they develop extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Animals may also have seizures or become vicious.
“It’s scary with small kids. You kind of feel like you have to watch them even more than you already did before,” Guerrero said.
Neighbors are staying vigilant.
“Now that this happened, I’m going to probably be on higher alert. My fox antennas are going to be up a little bit,” Lerner said.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that infects the central nervous system of mammals and it’s 100% fatal if not treated.
The city is urging if anyone in your home, including your pet, has had any exposure to stray or wild animals in this area within the past few weeks, contact your doctor.
You can also call the health department at 757-518-2700 between 8:15 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday only. Call 911 in the event of an emergency.