A startling video of a fox attack in upstate New York surfaced online this week. The footage, which appears to have been recorded by home surveillance cameras and is date stamped July 25, shows a woman fending off the animal as it repeatedly attacks her in the front yard of her Ithaca home.
The clip without sound lasts about 45 seconds. At the start, the woman is seen standing near an alley with a phone to her ear when the fox comes up from behind and grabs onto her leg. The woman tries to kick and shake the animal several times. A man then runs with a large stick, and as he approaches the fox, he runs away.
Ed Russo, meteorologist at CBS Harrisburg affiliate WHP-TV, recently shared the video on social media and identified the woman as his cousin. He said the fox tested positive for rabies after it was eventually captured and euthanized.
“A cousin of mine was attacked by a rabid fox in Ithaca, NY,” he said. tweeted tuesday. “She’s fine. Damn, this video is crazy!”
Russo shared the video with a similar message on Facebook Around the same time. He later explained in the comments section of the post that the woman “seeked medical attention immediately” after the attack and was “treated appropriately.”
“She did everything right,” Russo wrote, reiterating that her loved one is “doing fine.” He said the fox that attacked her nearly did the same to another person shortly after the incident, but was caught in time.
Russo did not immediately return CBS News’ request for comment.
Foxes are one of the many species that most commonly carry rabies in the United States, although they account for fewer cases than other wildlife such as bats, raccoons, and skunks. according at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health agency guidelines state that overly aggressive behavior in one of these animals, or, less commonly, a pet, can be a sign of rabies, but there is a wide range of symptoms.
Although the virus originated in animals, it can spread to humans through bites or scratches and infect the central nervous system. Rabies can be fatal if the disease affects the brain, but is usually treatable as long as treatment is given soon after exposure. Health officials recommend vaccinating all pets against rabies to reduce the risk of spread.
The CDC tracked rabies cases and their geographic locations for several years and published annual reports through 2018. At the time, Data showed that foxes with rabies were found in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. However, at least one rabid fox has been reported from Ithaca. In 2018, a fox that bit multiple people and pets at Ithaca College tested positive for rabies, according to the Voice of Ithaca.
In a more high-profile incident that took place in Washington, D.C., last spring, a rabid fox was captured and euthanized afteron Capitol Hill.