North Carolina

Person treated after exposure to rabid raccoon that fought 2 dogs, NC officials say

A person needs treatment after being exposed to a rabid raccoon in North Carolina.

The raccoon got into a fight with two dogs in Burlington and on Oct. 18 and was sent to the State Laboratory for Public Health to be tested, according to a release from the Alamance County Health Department.

The laboratory confirmed on Tuesday that the raccoon had rabies, the department said Wednesday.

The dogs were both up-to-date on their rabies vaccines and were given a booster shot after fighting the raccoon, the health department said.

An adult person was also exposed to the rabid raccoon and is getting “post-exposure treatment,” the department said, but it was not reported how the person was exposed. The department did not say if the adult was male or female.

Humans are usually exposed to rabies when they are bitten by an infected animal but, in rare cases, can get it from “non-bite exposures,” such as scratches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The raccoon is Alamance County’s seventh confirmed case of rabies this year, according to the health department, which is already two more than it had last year.

The health department says those who are bitten by any animal should “wash the wound with soap and running water for 10 minutes and seek medical attention immediately.”

A description of the animal and its location should be given to animal control and, if it’s someone’s pet, the owner’s name should be given to animal control or the health department, the department says.

People should not try to catch wild or stray animals, the department says.

It’s important to talk to a doctor immediately after contact with wildlife or an unknown animal, especially if you are bitten or scratched, to determine if you are at risk or need treatment, the CDC says.

The first symptoms can appear weeks to months after exposure, according to the CDC, but once “clinical signs” appear, the disease is almost always fatal.

“Any mammal can get rabies,” the CDC says. It’s most common in raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes, according to the CDC.

But humans should leave all wildlife alone to prevent exposure to rabies, the CDC says. Household pets should be kept up-to-date on vaccines, kept inside and supervised when outside.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.