February 7, 2017 

 
On February 4, 2017 a potentially rabid raccoon was reported in Rocky Hill, leaving one resident injured after being bitten by the animal. The Central Connecticut Heath District is reminding residents to remember that rabies can be deadly in humans. 
 
The most common wild animals that carry rabies are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes. However, cats, dogs, and cattle also are susceptible to the virus. Rabies is a disease that attacks the nervous system. It is usually transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal into an open wound or the mucous membranes of the eyes or mouth of an uninfected person or animal. 
 
The most common way that people contract the virus is through the bite of an infected animal. Handling a rabid animal, or coming into contact with its blood, urine, or feces, does not result in transmission of the disease. If you notice any animal exhibiting unusual behavior in your neighborhood, contact your local animal control officer for assistance. 
 
Signs of possible rabies infection in both wild and domesticated animals may include: 
- shyness of a normally friendly pet 
- fearlessness (of humans) in wild animals 
- uncharacteristic excitability, aggressiveness, or restlessness 
- sudden mood changes 
- excessive drooling 
- abnormal activity during the time of day the animal is usually inactive - eating substances that are not normally eaten 
- paralysis 
 
If a person is bitten by a wild animal, it is urgent to get medical attention as soon as possible. Untreated rabies progresses through several stages, ultimately ending in death. When a person is exposed to rabies, the virus will incubate for weeks or months. 
 
After incubation, early symptoms often resemble the flu -- general weakness or discomfort, fever, or headache may last for days. Fortunately, rabies in humans is 100% preventable through prompt treatment and prophylaxis. 
 
To learn more about rabies in both humans and animals, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/rabies. 
 
For further information about this or any other public health concerns, contact the Central Connecticut Health District, serving the towns of Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill and Wethersfield, by visiting our website at www.ccthd.org or “Like” us on Facebook.