RI’s top Vet weighs in on rabid animal cases - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

RI’s top Vet weighs in on rabid animal cases

RI’s top Vet weighs in on rabid animal cases

Posted: Updated:
By: Melissa Randall


The rabid raccoon that attacked three providence residents in the last two days is just the latest case of the virus popping up in Rhode Island. A few weeks ago another incident was reported in Lincoln. Rhode Island’s top Vet says rabies cases are serious.

“Rabies is virtually a hundred percent fatal,” said Rhode Island State Veterinarian Scott Marshall, DMV.

Wednesday two Providence residents were attacked by an infected raccoon. A third person is also being treated after a run in with the wild animal on Tuesday.

“The good news about rabies is it can be prevented, 100% of the time– virtually 100% of the time, if people seek prompt, proper treatment,” said Marshall.

The raccoon that had been roaming around the Princeton Ave. area was killed, but it's not the first rabid animal in our area in recent weeks. In April an infected cat went on the attack at a boat company in Lincoln. Dr. Marshall says the only way for an animal to get rabies is for it to be bit or scratched by an animal that already has the virus.

“So it's always there– kind of smoldering– we do see these kind of sporadic increases, we usually see them in the spring time when we see more animal activity, but we see rabies cases being reported throughout the year,” said Marshall.

Dr. Marshall says sometimes an exposed animal will show signs in as little as two weeks. Other times it takes six months. Behavioral changes people should look for include: the animal appearing drunk, uncoordinated, depressed, or unusually aggressive.

Providence Animal Control says a pet cat from the area of the Providence Raccoon attack is being evaluated for rabies. It will have to remain under supervision for 10 days.

Any one who believes they may have come in contact with the rabid raccoon should contact the Health Department immediately for evaluation and possible treatment. Any animals that are acting out of the ordinary should be reported to Animal Control.

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