BRUNSWICK — The fox that attacked a Brunswick man and the local animal control officer last week was rabid, according to police. 

Despite previous statements that the animal’s brain was too damaged to conduct the rabies test, the Maine Center for Disease Control Prevention was able to examine the fox and confirmed that it was positive, according to Police Chief Scott Stewart. 

The fox attacked the man in his Oak Street backyard Thursday morning, but he was able to kick it away, even as it continued to come back. The fox, still in the backyard when police came to investigate, then lunged at the animal control officer, Stewart said at the time. 

Nobody was bitten and the fox was killed. 

Police are not releasing the name or address of the man who was attacked.

This is the second confirmed and third suspected case of rabies this year, all within the past two months, according to the Maine CDC. 

This latest case comes after an influx of the disease — in 2018, seven people in Brunswick were attacked by rabid foxes, and last year alone there were 16 cases in Bath.

Rabies is transmitted primarily through bites and exposure to saliva or spinal fluid from an infected animal. It infects the nervous system of mammals, making the infected animal unusually aggressive. Vaccines are 100% effective in combating the disease in humans. Rabies is fatal if left untreated.

It is impossible to confirm whether an animal is infected with rabies while it is alive because brain tissue needs to be tested

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