NJ State park reopens after rabies scare
A state park in Ocean County is open again after a series encounters with a rabid fox.
Double Trouble State park in Berkeley Township had been closed since Monday, Aug. 29, when a fox exhibiting bizarre behavior approached several people and a dog.
Park Rangers found a dead juvenile fox on Aug. 30, a day after the encounters, but it was not believed to be the one involved in the human encounters. That fox did test positive for rabies.
In announcing the park would reopen, park rangers and wildlife officials again cautioned about approaching any animals. "As always, park visitors are encouraged to remain vigilant when hiking on trails. If you encounter an animal on a trail, back slowly away and go back the direction you came," a notice on Facebook read.
They also noted the animals who become infected with rabies only live about a week. It has been 10 days since the initial encounters.
Animals infected with rabies will display bizarre, sometimes aggressive, behavior with neuralgic signs such as circling, wobbly gate, strange vocalizations and seizures.
If you see an animal exhibiting those behaviors, do not approach the animal, and call 1-877-WARNDEP (1-877-927-6337).
The issue at Double Trouble State Park do not appear to be related to a series of fox attacks in nearby Lakewood, about 15 miles north of the park.
Several families reported children being bitten by a fox at two separate locations about a mile apart.
A playground at John Street Park was the site of two different children being bitten, more than eight hours apart, according to Lakewood Police.
Police received reports that three other children were attacked while playing in a home's yard on Regal Court.
In humans, rabies is always fatal, unless treatment is started immediately and before symptoms begin. The virus attacks the nervous system and the damage is irreversible. If anyone suspects they may have come in contact with a rabid animal, seek medical care without delay.
Treatment involves a series of injections, and when administered before symptoms start, the cure rate is near 100%.
Rabies is most often seen in wild animals, including bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.