Recent Fox Attacks in Maine May Be Due to New Rabies Strain

It seems like each and every year we are reporting on more and more rabid animals attacking Maine residents. It turns out that even though we may see areas with a 'cluster' of rabies, it doesn't necessarily mean that there is 'more' rabies in the state of Maine than there was in years past.

According to the Kennebec Journal, a recent uptick in fox attacks in the Topsham, Maine area has some residents concerned. Michele Walsh, the State Veterinarian, thinks that this is in part due to a strain of the rabies virus that is much more common in racoons. However, it would appear as though this newer strain may now be infecting gray foxes at an increasing rate.

Recent Fox Attacks in Maine May Be Due to New Rabies Strain

Walsh told the Kennebec Journal,

“When a strain of rabies infects a new species, that new species can demonstrate even more severe disease or more rapid signs and dramatic forms. This is speculation, but we believe it may affect gray foxes more and cause more aggression than in other species.”

Additionally, not every animal that is involved in an attack will get tested. Evidentially, at least in Maine, there are certain criteria that must be met in order for the remains of the animal to be sent to the lab for testing. This would include, but is not limited to, the victims skin being broken during the attack.

As always, and around any wildlife, you should always use caution. If you notice a wild animal that isn't acting right or seems to have no aversion to human proximity, it is always best to notify your local animal control or the Maine Warden Service.

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