WEST BERLIN — The snarling guard dogs that patrolled the Berlin Wall held back East Germans yearning to breathe free in the West, but they also kept an unwelcome visitor at bay--the rabid fox.
When the wall came down, dozens of the disease-ridden creatures began scampering into West Berlin.
Since the wall crumbled last November, 37 rabid foxes have been found in West Berlin, including one at a crowded swimming pool. About 10 people have been bitten, according to West Berlin health department spokesman Thomas-Peter Gallon.
"The fall of the borders with East Germany not only led to people moving freely, but also foxes," Gallon said. "Before, rabies had been virtually wiped out."
East Germany has been slow in combatting rabies, health officials said, although no statistics on rabies cases in the country are available.