Speed Reads

post-Rabid Fox Attack

Lawmaker introduces rabies vaccine bill following fox bite on Capitol hill

After being bitten by a fox while walking on Capitol Hill, Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation that would reduce the cost of rabies vaccinations for uninsured Americans, The Washington Post reports. 

"After being bit by a rabid fox, I was fortunate to have access to readily available and low-cost vaccines," Bera said in a statment released Wednesday, also World Rabies Day. "But for too many Americans, the costs of treatment would break their banks."

Bera encountered the rabies-stricken fox while walking near the Russell Senate Office Building back in April. After feeling a small animal lunging at the back of his leg, he expected to turn around a see a dog. Instead, he saw a fox, and began beating the animal back with his umbrella until it fled toward other Senate buildings, per the Post. After multiple sightings, animal control officials eventually caught a fox on U.S. Capitol grounds. It was unclear, however, whether the captured fox and the fox that bit Bera were the same.

Rabies can be potentially fatal, but a treatment known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) "is nearly 100% effective at preventing rabies if received before symptoms start," per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bera's bill, The Affordable Rabies Treatment for Uninsured Act, would create a program to reimburse healthcare providers who provide PEP to uninsured patients. 

"I encourage all Americans to remain vigilant around wild animals and to seek medical attention if bitten or scratched," Bera said. "Costs should never be a barrier for individuals seeking life-saving treatment."