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Fox that attacked congressman and others near Capitol had rabies, officials say

City health officials said the female fox was euthanized, and that its kits were captured.
Image: red fox spotted outside the north side of the Russell Senate Office Building
A red fox spotted outside the north side of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington on April 4, 2022.Michael Macagnone / AP

WASHINGTON — A fox that bit a congressman and at least eight other people near the U.S. Capitol was euthanized and found to have rabies, city health officials said Wednesday.

“The DC Public Health lab has confirmed the fox that was captured yesterday tested positive for the rabies virus. DC Health is contacting all human victims who were bitten by the fox," the department said in a statement.

The health department said earlier in the day that the female fox was “responsible for 9 confirmed bites on Capitol Hill” and was “humanely euthanized so that rabies testing may be done.”

The test came back positive Wednesday evening.

The fox’s “kits were found and captured” Wednesday morning, and “officials are working to determine next steps” for them, the health agency said.

D.C. Animal Control captured the fox Tuesday after receiving “several reports of aggressive fox encounters on or near the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.”

Among those who had a run-in with the fox was Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., who said he was nipped on his leg on the way office Monday.

Bera, a medical doctor, told NBC News on Tuesday night that he'd started rabies prophylaxis treatment as a precaution. The treatment includes a round of seven shots, and requires three rounds of follow-up shots in the next 14 days.

"You don’t want to mess around with wild animal bites or anything like that," Bera said.

Rabies is typically fatal if left untreated.

Animal control said it is posting informational flyers near the Capitol advising residents and workers of the fox’s positive rabies status and encouraging people who might have been exposed to contact the health department.