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Rabid Raccoon Captured in Northwest DC

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

(WASHINGTON, DC) – A rabid raccoon has been captured in Northwest DC after attacking three people in the Chevy Chase neighborhood. On Sunday morning (10/14) DC Animal Control was alerted that the raccoon had been sighted in the vicinity of 32nd Street and Nebraska Ave. NW. Animal Control officers captured the animal at 2:10 PM and the animal was humanely euthanized. Tests were conducted at the DC Public Health Laboratory that determined that the raccoon was infected with rabies.

At this time it is confirmed that three people and two pets were exposed to the raccoon. All three people have started receiving post-exposure rabies prophylaxis. The two pets have been evaluated by a veterinarian, given a booster vaccine and placed under confinement.

Anyone else who may have encountered a raccoon during this time should contact DC Health by calling (202) 442-9143 or emailing [email protected].

Rabies is fatal if not treated. For more information on rabies visit: https://dchealth.dc.gov/service/rabies-and-animal-exposures

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Rabies in the District of Columbia

In the District of Columbia (DC), rabies is most commonly found in bats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks. Each year, the DC Health Animal Services Program tests hundreds of wild and domestic animals. Most of the tests are negative for the disease; however, animals carrying rabies are identified every year. Rabies is a fatal disease spread from animals to humans. It is caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system resulting in seizures, paralysis, and eventually death. The rabies virus is spread through the saliva of a rabid animal. It is most commonly spread from animals to humans when a rabid animal bites a person, but scratches and saliva contact with broken skin or mucous membranes (for example, the eyes or mouth) can also spread the virus.

2017 DC Rabies Statistics

Important Facts about Rabies:

  • Only warm-blooded animals can be affected by the rabies virus and become rabid
  • Dogs and cats can get rabies if they are not vaccinated
  • Rabies is rarely seen in rodents such as mice, rats, squirrels, chipmunks, guinea pigs, hamsters, or rabbits
  • Birds, turtles, lizards, fish, and insects cannot get rabies

If preventative treatment is given quickly after a person is exposed to rabies, it is unlikely they will become sick. If treatment is not given quickly, a person infected with rabies will die. This is why it is important to see a physician immediately if you are bitten by an aggressive animal, or animal that is acting abnormally, especially if it was a wild animal.

https://dchealth.dc.gov/service/rabies-and-animal-exposures