The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) are advising people in the area of Princeton Avenue and Burnett Street in Providence that a raccoon attacked and bit or scratched two residents on April 30th and has tested positive for rabies.
A third resident was attacked by a raccoon in the area of Grant Street on the night of April 29th. The streets are within a mile of each other and it is likely that the same raccoon was responsible for the attacks. The individuals were referred to HEALTH and started treatment with rabies vaccine.
Anyone who may have had contact with a raccoon prior to April 30th should contact HEALTH for evaluation (and potential treatment with rabies vaccine) at 401-222-2577 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or at 272-5952 if calling after hours.
According to Rhode Island State Veterinarian Scott Marshall, DVM, this particular rabies case is high risk because the raccoon roamed the neighborhood and may have had contact with people and pets. These people may not be aware that they have been exposed to rabies.
Those with domestic animals that may have had contact with raccoons should call Providence Animal Control at 401-243-6040 so that their pets can be evaluated.
All dogs, cats, and ferrets are required by state law to have current vaccinations against rabies. Vaccination of pet animals prevents them from contracting rabies, and prevents people from becoming exposed to rabies through their pets. HEALTH and DEM make the following recommendations: • Make sure dogs, cats, and ferrets are properly vaccinated against rabies. It is the law. • Avoid all contact with stray, wild, or free-roaming domestic animals. • Call HEALTH if you have had any contact with a stray, wild, or free-roaming domestic animal. • Call your local animal control officer if an animal you own has had contact with a stray, wild, or free-roaming domestic animal. • Secure all trash so that animals will not be attracted to it. • Do not feed animals outdoors, as this will attract other animals. This is especially dangerous when feeding large numbers of free-roaming cats. • Do not leave pets outdoors loose or unattended.