Rabies alarm on Svalbard

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UPDATED: Local authorities on Norway’s Arctic archipelago of Svalbard are trying to stem what they fear may be an outbreak of rabies, after the disease was found in a fox and two reindeer in Longyearbyen.

The fox had been killed by a dog on September 12 after it had gone on the attack, reports news bureau NTB. Veterinarians examining the dead fox found it infected with rabies.

Two reindeer were subsequently shot and killed near the city’s administration building, after their behavior raised suspicions of rabies infection. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Wednesday afternoon that test results showed the reindeer, too, were infected. Their carcasses were burned.

Authorities have now ordered all dogs to be kept on a leash and that none be tied up outdoors unless under constant observation. Wildlife officials were also destroying as many foxes as possible in and around Longyearbyen, to minimize the threat of infection.

Views and News staff