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Raccoon captured in Newport tests positive for rabies

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) reports that a raccoon captured on Saturday, December 6, 2014 close to 43 Broadway in Newport (near the RIPTA bus stop, Newport City Hall, and Thompson Middle School) has tested positive for rabies. Several people may have had contact with this raccoon.

Anyone who may have had contact with a raccoon near this location on Saturday, December 6 should contact the Rhode Island Department of Health as soon as possible at 401-222-2577. Contact is defined as a bite, a scratch, or raccoon saliva touching an open wound, eyes, nose or mouth.

HEALTH staff will assess each individual's level of contact with the animal and determine whether any contact may have resulted in potential rabies exposure. If HEALTH determines that contact did result in potential exposure, HEALTH will recommend treatment.

Without proper treatment for rabies exposure, rabies can develop and the infection is virtually always fatal. When administered properly, post-exposure treatment for rabies will prevent any person who was exposed to the virus from developing the disease and prevent death.

Additionally, anyone who owns a domestic animal that may have had contact with a raccoon near this location must report the incident to their municipal animal control officer or the Department of Environmental Management environmental police at 401-222-3070.

Rhode Islanders are encouraged to share this information with their neighbors, family, and friends to help HEALTH find and evaluate anyone with a potential exposure.

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