A woman strolling through a park in New York was attacked by a coyote, leaving her with severe bite marks. Days later, the coyote was killed and tested positive for rabies.
On the morning of Aug. 16, 64-year-old amateur photographer Rita Sweenor was strolling through Five Combines park in rural New York when she was attacked by a coyote. According to reports, Sweenor jumped into the canal to escape from the coyote and sought help from a nearby house. She was sent to Albany hospital where she was treated for the severe bites on her arms, legs, and face she incurred from the attack.
Officials closed down the park until Thursday after Sweenor's attack, as well as a few other coyote encounters reported by park-goers. An environmental conservation officer was able to track down and shoot the coyote thought to be responsible for the attack last Thursday, but both Feeder Canal and Five Combines park will remain closed to the public until Tuesday to make sure that no other aggressive or rabid animals will be found within the vicinity.
Upon testing, the coyote that evidently attacked Sweenor tested positive for rabies. Sweenor is being given preventative treatment for rabies, and the Washington County sheriff's office requests anyone who may have come in contact with the coyote to contact them.
Does Washington County Have A Rabies Problem?
The coyote attack on Sweenor wasn't the first one in the area. Earlier in the month, a resident shot and killed a coyote after it was seen wandering the area, foaming at the mouth. Though authorities were called to collect the remains, residents say the body was not retrieved nor tested for rabies.
What's more, a California veterinarian who tracks coyotes noticed a rise in coyote numbers in certain parts of the country in recent years.
Rabies is a disease among mammals that is often transmitted through bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rabies virus infects the brain and nervous system of its host, ultimately leading to death.
In humans, early symptoms appear similar to other illnesses' such as fever, weakness, and headache. However, the danger of rabies comes when the more obvious symptoms start to manifest. These include anxiety, insomnia, excitability, partial paralysis, confusion, hallucinations, excessive salivation, swallowing difficulties, and fear of water. Death often follows within days of the appearance of these symptoms.
As such, it is important to immediately thoroughly wash any wounds resulting from an animal attack. What's more, any suspected virus transmission must be quickly consulted with a medical practitioner for treatments.