Georgia Tech campus on alert after rabid fox attacks students

Georgia Tech is warning students and staff to be on alert after a rabid fox attacked four students.

On Friday, one student was bitten and two others had pants legs latched onto by a fox in separate unprovoked attacks.

On Sunday, another unprovoked attack left a student scratched on the hand, according to university spokesman Lance Wallace. 

IN-DEPTH: Foxes find Georgia Tech to their liking

The fox was captured and tested positive for rabies, which can be spread by exposure to an infected animal’s saliva. Rabies symptoms can take months to show up.

The students are undergoing post-exposure treatment as a precaution, according to Wallace, and three of them have returned to classes.

The cost of rabies treatment can exceed $3,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“There are multiple foxes, we know that,” Wallace said, and the university is getting help to trap the others.

 
Sidewalks are blocked off between the track and the Molecular Science and Engineering building on Wednesday. Georgia Tech is warning students and staff to be on alert after a rabid fox attacked students. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

The pathway where the animal attacked has been blocked off with tape and warning signs. Georgia Tech is asking the campus community to avoid the area out of an abundance of caution.

Abi Lewal, a student, told Channel 2 Action News she is taking a different route to class because she is scared of getting bit. 

"A friend of mine in my research group said he saw one of the foxes around here,” she said. “I decided to take the long way so we wouldn't be accosted by whatever fox was over here.”

Signs and caution tape warn Georgia Tech students to stay away from an area of campus where there have been fox sightings. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Georgia Tech is urging anyone who thinks they came in contact with one of the feral animals to seek medical treatment, as early symptoms of rabies are not specific. They could include fever, headache and fatigue, Wallace said. 

Untreated rabies is fatal in humans.

Anyone who sees a fox on the Georgia Tech campus is asked to contact the school’s police department at 404-894-2500.

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