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Published On: Fri, Jun 7th, 2013

Rhode Island family brings rabid raccoon in their home, 18 people affected

In late May, a Coventry, Rhode Island family in a bizarre and dangerous move, found a baby raccoon in the rural part of town and brought the creature home, according to a Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) news release June 6.

The DEM retrieved the raccoon and submitted it for rabies testing on June 4, which turned out to be positive for the lethal viral disease.

Image/CDC

Image/CDC

Providence, Rhode Island ABC affiliate, WLNE-TV reports that 18 people, including a four children, are receiving rabies prophylaxis due to contact with the animal.

DEM officials say this is exactly why they prohibit people from possessing native wildlife and limits those who are authorized to rehabilitate sick or injured wildlife to those individuals who are properly trained and immunized against rabies, according to release.

The situation prompted authorities to post signs on residents doors reminding them to have their pets vaccinated and warning them to stay away from wild animals no matter how harmless they look.

Although worldwide it is estimated that there are more than 55,000 deaths due to rabies annually, human rabies cases are extremely rare in the United States, which averages less than five human rabies cases annually.

DEM officials say there has not been a human case of rabies in Rhode Island since 1940.

Watch “Deadly Effects of Rabies” video

Human rabies is prevented by administration of rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin.

Anyone who could have had potential contact with a raccoon in that area should contact the RI Department of Health’s Division of Infectious Diseases at 222-2577 for evaluation.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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