No leads in finding handlers of possibly rabid raccoon: health unit

BROCKVILLE – As of Monday, the regional health unit was still trying to locate a family who dropped off a raccoon at the Brockville Animal Hospital that might have had rabies.

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit spokeswoman Susan Healey told Brockville Newswatch Monday, tests on the animal should be back either today or tomorrow.

The raccoon was dropped off Thursday, June 30, 2016 and the health unit is concerned because it wants to make sure there was no potential disease transmission.

“It (the raccoon) had been alive at the time. They didn’t find it dead, I know that, and that is why we were worried,” Healey said. “If you find a dead rabid animal that’s one thing but when it’s live and it could have scratched you or could have bitten you…but sometimes people don’t think of an animal scratching them as being able to transit rabies.”

Healey said this case underscores the reason people should not handle wild animals.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of rabies infection are very similar to the flu and include a general feeling of illness, fever, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, sore throat and depression.

The acute symptoms last two to 10 days and are usually fatal in most cases.

If you know the family that dropped off the raccoon, you’re urged to contact the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Paula Stewart, at 613-345-5685.