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DEM, HEALTH CAUTION NORTH KINGSTOWN RESIDENTS ABOUT RACCOON BITE INCIDENT

Animal Still At Large After Biting One Person and Two Dogs Last Night

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management has learned that a person is being treated for rabies exposure after having contact with a raccoon in an unprovoked attack in North Kingstown last night. The incident happened around 6:30 p.m. Monday on Heritage Road, which is located off Post Road. One individual and two dogs were bitten. The vaccination status of the dogs is being evaluated and proper precautions will be taken once the dogs' vaccination status has been determined.

Despite attempts to capture the raccoon the animal still remains at large, and as such must be presumed to be infected with rabies. This is behavior that is not typical for raccoons. Therefore, anyone who sees any sick or abnormally-acting wildlife should it report to DEM and North Kingstown Animal Control. Anyone who could have had potential contact with a raccoon in that area should contact the RI Department of Health's Division of Infectious Diseases at 222-2577 for evaluation. Additionally, anyone who owns a domestic animal that may have had contact with a raccoon or any other wildlife must report the incident to their municipal animal control officer or DEM's environmental police at 222-3070.

DEM's state veterinarian Scott Marshall, DVM, says that all Rhode Island residents should take sensible precautions, such as staying away from wildlife, vaccinating pets, securing garbage, and not leaving pet food outside. Those in North Kingstown should be particularly aware, and report any contact to DEM's environmental police office at 222-3070.

Protecting pets from rabies helps to maintain a barrier between humans and rabies in wildlife, and, under state law, dogs, cats, and ferrets must be maintained as currently vaccinated against rabies. Only a licensed veterinarian can administer the vaccine.

For more information on rabies, visit the DEM website, www.dem.ri.gov, and click on "Topics" then "Public Health." Information is also available on HEALTH's website, www.health.ri.gov, by clicking on "Topics & Programs" then "Rabies."

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Health

Online: http://www.health.ri.gov

Release date: 01-15-2013

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