Officials looking for third victim of fox attack in Saguaro NP-East

Updated: Feb. 14, 2018 at 9:05 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Officials are desperately looking for another possible victim of the fox attack that happened at Saguaro National Park-East Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Mark Hart, spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said two people have been treated following the attack but they are searching for a third victim.

Hart said the person should call 623-236-7201 immediately and seek medical treatment for rabies.

It doesn't take a bite from a rabid animal to become infected. Hart said you can risk infection by just coming into contact with a diseased animal

An initial news release from the park said a bicyclist was on Cactus Forest Loop Drive when they were bit by the fox.

It is unusual for foxes to attack humans so there is a major concern the animal is rabid.

Biologists and park rangers tried to catch the fox, but the animal, which reportedly approached other visitors, could not be located.

"It appears the fox may have approached multiple visitors prior to the incident being reported to park officials," Chief Ranger Ray O'Neil said in the release. "If any visitor has come into direct contact with this fox, or any animal acting strangely, they should seek immediate medical care, without delay."

Visitors to the park and surrounding areas should be aware of multiple cases of rabies being reported recently. Park staff will continue to try to find the animal.

All three counties in southern Arizona have four confirmed cases of rabies in wild animals so far this year, according to data from Arizona Department of Health Services. Records dating to 2012 show that Pima County has experienced the most rabies cases in Arizona each year.

Bats are the most common carriers in Pima County, according to the data. Skunks and foxes are far behind in cases, but the next most common.

In January, a Vail woman was bitten by a fox that tested positive, and four rabid foxes were found in Cochise County in December. A fifth fox from Cochise County tested positive for rabies in February.

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