Rabid fox hides under car and attacks Weston woman

WESTON, Fla. – Annie Mathew said Tuesday that she has been receiving treatment to prevent a rabies infection. She fears she was exposed to the deadly virus earlier this month in western Broward County.

Mathew said he parked his car in front of his house when he saw an animal run to hide under it in the Windmill Lake Estates community of Weston.

Mathew was with his daughters, so he told them to stay in the car. As soon as he went out to investigate, the rabid fox grabbed his ankle from under the car.

“He wouldn’t let go of me,” Mathew said, adding that he started yelling and hitting the fox with his bag and phone until he was able to escape.

The attack sparked an active rabies alert in his neighborhood. Mathew still fears for his life. Once a rabies infection is established, there is no effective treatment. The virus travels through the body to the brain and infects the central nervous system.

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Symptoms of the disease can appear weeks or months after a bite from a rabid animal. They include weakness, fever, headache, insomnia, muscle spasms, paralysis, hallucinations, and mental confusion. Symptoms in humans and animals are similar.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer who responded to help her after the attack quickly noticed that the fox was behaving strangely.

“He was attacking and behaving like he was sick in the head,” Mathew said. “Those were the words he used, like an ‘insane’ animal.”

The officers caught the fox. He tested positive for rabies. But before the test results, Mathew, a veteran registered nurse, knew she had to rush to the hospital to start a series of injections to keep the infection from taking hold.

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Officials issued a rabies alert for an area of ​​Weston. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.)

The public is asked to take the following precautions:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all at-risk pets and livestock.

  • Don’t let your pets run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property. If your pet or livestock is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Animal Control Services for your jurisdiction.

  • Support animal control in efforts to reduce wild and stray animal populations.

  • Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.

  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources, such as trash or uncovered trash.

  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.

  • Teach children never to handle unknown animals, wild or domestic, even if they seem friendly.

Those who have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal should seek medical attention and report the injury to the health department by calling 954-467-4700.

Copyright 2021 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.

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Rabid fox hides under car and attacks Weston woman


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