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Capitol Hill fox that bit a congressman and others had rabies, officials said

Capitol Fox Encounters
Posted at 2:08 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 21:19:45-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — According to officials, a fox that bit a U.S. congressman as he was heading to work on Capitol Hill has tested positive for rabies.

“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 obtained by NBC.

D.C. Health said they received “several reports of aggressive fox encounters on or near the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.”

As NBC Washington reported that the fox was "humanely euthanized" so that workers could do rabies testing.

Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., was bitten by the fox on Monday evening while walking to the Capitol for votes. His injuries weren't reported as severe, but they were enough to puncture his clothing.

Bera underwent a series of four rabies shots out of an abundance of caution.

Bera says he felt something lunge at him from behind as he walked near one of the Senate office buildings.

He turned and used his umbrella to fend off what he thought would be a small dog, but he soon realized he was tangling with a fox.

Bera told the Associated Press that the encounter was about 15 seconds.

A bystander yelled to alert others and when U.S. Capitol Police officers ran up to the scene the fox ran off.

On Wednesday, Bera released a statement on Twitter to say he holds no ill will towards the animal and hoped it could have been relocated.

"Despite the dustup, I hold no grudge or ill will against the capitol fox," Bera, who is also a medical doctor, said. "Hoping the fox and its family are safely relocated and wishing it a happy and prosperous future."

According to D.C. Health, the fox was “responsible for 9 confirmed bites on Capitol Hill.” The fox's “kits were found and captured” on Wednesday morning.

Capitol Police also issued a warning asking for people to not approach the animals, adding that animal control personnel were "working to trap and relocate any foxes they find."