JACKSON — A fox that bit a young child has tested positive for rabies, according to the Ocean County Health Department.

The fox died shortly after Jackson Township Animal Control took possession of the fox, and the child is receiving post-exposure treatment, OCHD announced on Facebook late Wednesday.

The child was attacked in the neighborhood between Aldrich Road and West Connecticut Concourse, officials said. According to CBS New York, the child is a 4-year-old girl who was playing with friends in her yard.

The department received two additional reports of fox bites in the same neighborhood over a two-day span.

“Interactions with wildlife do happen suddenly, and sometimes, in the most unusual circumstances,” said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Officer. “Just be aware of your surroundings and environment and the type of wildlife that may call that area home. We all know how serious rabies can be, but unfortunately, it’s not always easy to determine if an animal is sick so it’s best to avoid any interactions and call animal control immediately, especially if the animal is acting aggressive.”

Two of the most common rabies carriers in the county are bats and raccoons. Last year in Ocean County, there were two cases of animals testing positive — both were raccoons.

According to the New Jersey Department of Health, approximately 2,500 people in New Jersey receive rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) due to exposure to known or suspect rabid animals. The Jackson child is currently undergoing PEP.

“Not only do we have to protect ourselves from rabies, we need to protect our pets and to ensure they are up-to-date with their rabies inoculations,” added Ocean County Commissioner Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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