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Rabid raccoon captured in Prince George's County

The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals. People are oftentimes infected after a deep bite or scratch.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — The Prince George's County Health Department says a rabid raccoon was recently found in Clinton, Maryland

Officials say the rabid animal was found alive but close to death in the 13100 block of Gallahan Road on Monday, April 11. It was described as being light brown with several wounds. The raccoon was sent for rabies testing which came back positive on Wednesday, April 13. 

Now, the Health Department is trying to find anyone who may have had contact with the infected animal. If you or anyone you know may have had contact with a raccoon in the area between March 26 and April 11, contact the Health Department immediately at (301) 583-3750.

The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals. People are oftentimes infected after a deep bite or scratch. The virus can be prevented by administering four doses of the rabies vaccine over a 14-day period.

RELATED: Rabies: Symptoms, testing and treatment options

“Rabies is often a life-threatening disease; however, it is highly preventable by beginning post-exposure treatment immediately following exposure. Treatment is determined by the type of animal contact and patient assessment,” said Dr. Ernest Carter, Prince George’s County Health Officer. “Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal and is easily transmissible through a bite of an infected animal. The best method to eliminate the risk of rabies exposure is to avoid contact with unfamiliar animals. We encourage community members to report any unusual or erratic animal behavior they notice and to avoid handling and feeding any unknown animals in their community.”

Every year, more than 29 million people receive a rabies vaccine after being bitten by an animal. The World Health Organization says rabies deaths are rarely reported on a global scale but children between five and 14 years old are frequently the victims.

RELATED: DC Health: 3 kits of euthanized fox with rabies 'no longer able to be safely rehabilitated'

Symptoms of furious rabies can include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Excitable behavior
  • Hydrophobia (the fear of water)
  • Aerophobia (the fear of drafts or of fresh air)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Partial paralysis

If you are bitten by an animal, immediately wash the wound for a minimum of 15 minutes with soap and water, detergent, povidone iodine or other substances that remove and kill the rabies virus. After washing the wound, report the bite to your local animal control agency. Make sure to identify and observe the animal, but do not risk exposure again and get prompt medical attention by visiting the nearest emergency room. 

WATCH NEXT: 6-year-old girl receiving rabies shots after dog bite at Catoctin Mountain Park

Now, her parents are asking the owners to come forward and provide medical information about their dog so Charlie can avoid further treatments.

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