BETHEL (AP) -- A boom in the fox population in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta has increased the threat of rabies in the region, state biolgists say.
Rober Seavoy, a biolgist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told the Tundra Drums the region's fox population is at a 10-year high due to an abundance of food and low fur prices.
Rabies, a disease of the brain and nervous system, is passed from fox to fox during mating or when an animal with rabies dies and another feeds on the infected carcass. The virus can also be transmitted via saliva when an infected animal bites a person or another animal.
There have been a few reports of rabid foxes in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta this year. A rabid red fox was found in Bethel, and two rabid arctic foxes were found in Newtok, according to Don Ritter, a microbiologist with the Alaska Division of Public Health.
Foxes are normally shy and people should be wary of any fox acting too boldly, Ritter said.
Dog owners are encouraged to immunize their pets to protect them from rabies and should monitor their animals for unusual behavior.
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