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Rabid beaver attacks in Philadelphia park

June 4, 2011 at 1:02 AM

PHILADELPHIA, June 4 (UPI) -- Rabies has been confirmed in a beaver that bit three people in a Philadelphia park, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said Friday.

The commission warned the public to be careful in Pennypack Park, which winds through Northeast Philadelphia following Pennypack Creek, and to stay away from the banks of the creek. The beaver responsible for the attacks has been captured and killed but other beavers or wildlife in the area could have been infected.

The first attack occurred Wednesday. A beaver bit a woman fishing in the creek in the leg and then bit her husband when he came to her aid.

A 10-year-old girl was bitten the next day. While she was being treated at a hospital, a park ranger trapped a beaver with injuries consistent with reports the victims had made of their efforts to protect themselves.

In April, a rabid beaver attacked a fisherman in White Clay Creek in Chester Count in the Philadelphia suburbs. In that case, the victim was able to drown the animal.

Rabies is a viral disease with a long incubation period. Once symptoms develop it is almost always fatal, but the disease can be prevented by the injection of rabies vaccine.

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