Cyclists attacked by rabid fox near Bur-Mil Park in Guilford County

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Guilford County Health Department is warning people that a rabid fox recently attacked two cyclists off Highway 220 North, also known as Battleground Avenue.

Battleground runs north and west from the center of Greensboro with many bike trails along near Bur-Mil Park close to Lake Brandt.

“These two people were riding bicycles and the fox attacked and bit both of them. They have been treated and are currently in the process of receiving post-exposure rabies shots,” said Sandy Ellington, a spokeswoman for the Guilford County Department of Health. “We do not know whether they were stopped or moving when the attack occurred.”

Several cyclists near that area were surprised by the news and said they don’t normally see wild animals along the trails they use.

“Wow OK, now I didn't hear about that -- that must have just happened,” said Russ Jones, a cyclist who knows that aggression is a key indicator of rabies.

“If they run away from you, they probably don't have it but if they come toward you if they look aggressive they probably have rabies because it messes with their mind,” said Jones.

Walkers and runners along those trails also report seeing more geese and deer than foxes.

“It's a little frightening but [the trail] always seems really safe,” said Jessica Maedath. “It definitely will keep me on my toes a little bit and on the lookout.”

The Guilford County Health Department said the best way to prevent the spread of rabies is to get your pets vaccinated, even those that don’t spend a lot of time outside.

The next low-cost rabies clinics in the Piedmont Triad will be Saturday, Aug. 22 from 9 a.m. to noon at fire station #28. The address is 6619 N.C. 61 North, Gibsonville, NC 27249. The cost is $5.

This fox is the 9th confirmed case of rabies in an animal in Guilford County in 2015. There were 14 cases in 2014.

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