A fox, not the one pictured, bit people in Brighton, New York on April 21, 2023.

A fox, not the just one pictured, bit people today in Brighton, New York on April 21, 2023.

Erik Mclean by way of Unsplash

A rabid fox bit at least six people on a Friday night in western New York, according to police and health officials.

The attacks took place near homes in Brighton, a town 4 miles southeast of Rochester, the Monroe County Department of Public Health said in a news release.

Authorities ultimately killed the fox before it was tested for rabies, according to officials.

The results came back positive for rabies, which can lead “to death of infected humans or pets if untreated,” health officials warned.

People who didn’t come into physical contact with the fox are not at risk, according to the release.

Anyone who had a physical encounter with the fox in Brighton is asked to report the incident to the county’s Rabies Control Program at 585-753-5171.

Signs an animal may have rabies

It’s not possible to determine if an animal has rabies without lab testing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, there are some warning signs that can hint at a possible rabies infection in an animal.

According to the CDC, the signs include:

Rabies can “reprogram” an animal’s nervous system, causing it to become less fearful and more aggressive, Dr. Karsten Hueffer told Medical News Today.

Meanwhile, some animals with rabies may appear fine, so the CDC cautions against approaching or feeding an animal in the wild.

Another way to avoid rabies is to make sure pets, such as dogs or cats, get a rabies vaccination, Monroe County health officials said.

In the U.S., rabies cases in people are rare, according to the CDC. About one to three cases are reported yearly.

The animals most likely to carry rabies are bats, foxes, raccoons and skunks, the agency says.

Julia Marnin is a McClatchy National Authentic-Time reporter masking the southeast and northeast while primarily based in New York. She’s an alumna of The College or university of New Jersey and joined McClatchy in 2021. Beforehand, she’s created for Newsweek, Fashionable Luxurious, Gannett and more.