The polar fox was killed by one of the dogs at the Hopen Station. It was collected by the Governor and a representative from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority on April 30 and brought to the Norwegian Veterinary Institute (NVI) in Oslo. Tests confirmed that the fox was infected with rabies.
The dogs are vaccinated against rabies. Nobody was bitten or exposed to infection in any other way and everyone working on Hopen is vaccinated.
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is working on infection control measures in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the NVI and the Governor of Svalbard.
Rabies in the Arctic
Rabies is regarded as an endemic disease throughout most parts of the Arctic. The Arctic fox is the main host of the virus. On Svalbard, rabies was diagnosed for the first time in 1980 during an outbreak in the Arctic fox population. Mainland Norway remains rabies free.