After rabid foxes found, YKHC urges rabies vaccines for pets

A red fox kit runs in the snow outside of Toolik Field Station, Alaska. (National Science Foundation)

Three foxes in three Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta communities have tested positive for rabies in recent weeks. 

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation said rabid foxes were found in Nightmute, Alakanuk, and Bethel. And while the rabies virus isn’t unusual in Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta foxes, the virus is a concern: It is fatal if left untreated in people and unvaccinated pets.

YKHC urges anyone who is bitten or scratched by wildlife to seek medical attention immediately. They also encourages everyone to get pets vaccinated against the virus, and to report to YKHC if a pet is bitten or scratched by wildlife, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated against rabies.

In Bethel, pets can receive rabies vaccines at the Knik Animal Clinic or from Bethel Friends of Canines. Villages can request a public health veterinarian to visit their community and provide rabies vaccines.

Numbers to call for reporting incidents:
YKHC Office of Environmental Health: 907-543-6420. Toll free: 1-800-478-6599
Alaska Section of Epidemiology: 907-269-8000
Bethel Police Department non-emergency line: 907-543-3781
Alaska Department of Fish and Game: 907-543-2979

To get your pets vaccinated:
Bethel Friends of Canines (BFK9): Email bethelfriendsofcanines2011@gmail.com or Facebook messenger
Knik Animal Clinic: 907-543-2823
Dr. Laurie Meythaler-Mullins, Public Health Veterinarian: Call 907-545-4941, over Facebook, or email ykvet1@gmail.com

Alaska Rabies Prevention and Control Manual:
https://www.ykhc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/RabiesControlManual2019.pdf