GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A woman was bitten by a raccoon Sunday night, less than a week after Greenville police warned the community about animals exhibiting strange behaviors.
Officers responded to Oxford Road where a woman was bitten on her ankle after she saw two raccoons by her trashcan and reached down to give them food.
The woman, who told officers she regularly feeds the raccoons, was advised to seek medical attention immediately. The raccoon has not been located but traps have been set in an attempt to catch it.
The Greenville Police Department’s Animal Protective Services Unit warned the community about the potential risk of rabies on Thursday after several sick wild animals had to be euthanized.
Since the beginning of April, officers have responded to 14 reports of foxes or raccoons exhibiting strange behaviors.
The animals, who officers said are typically nocturnal, were seen in the middle of the day and either appeared to be having seizures, were walking around in circles or displayed little to no fear of humans.
Four foxes and 10 raccoons were picked up and put to sleep since April 1. The calls for service came from the following locations.
- 1600 block of Sulgrave Road
- 1000 block of W. Greenville Boulevard
- 2100 block of Bloomsbury Road
- West Berkley and Field Street
- 100 block of E. Baywood Lane
- 2100 block of Camden Court
- 100 block of Greenwood Drive
- 100 block of W. Firetower Road
- 100 block of Briarwood Drive
- 2500 block of E. 5th Street
- 1200 block of Canterbury Road
- 200 block of Library Street
- 1600 block of Brook Hollow Drive
- 1900 block of Tattenham Court
There have not been any confirmed reports of rabies or any reports of human injuries associated with wild animals in Greenville. In the state of North Carolina, wild animals are not tested for rabies unless they come into contact with a human or pet. For that reason, Animal Protective Services officers are unable to confirm whether the animals they picked up were, in fact, rabid. Still, APS officers felt it important to issue a proactive public safety warning out of an abundance of caution.
Officers released the following information about rabies:
Important facts about rabies:
During the final stage of the disease, rabies travels from the brain to the salivary glands. This is the time when an animal is most at risk for spreading the disease, usually through a bite.
People can get rabies only via a bite from a rabid animal or possibly through scratches or open wounds in contact with saliva or brain tissue from a rabid animal.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, over the past 10 years, rabies has killed only a total of 28 people in the U.S. This amounts to fewer than three fatalities in a year.
While the odds of contracting rabies are long, the following precautions should still be taken:
Don’t approach or handle wild animals.
Vaccinate your pets—cats and dogs both—and any free-roaming cats under your care.
If you see a wild animal who may be sick, contact your local Animal Protective Services unit or wildlife officer for help. Don’t handle sick wildlife!
If you are bitten by a wild animal, see a doctor immediately.
If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, see a veterinarian immediately. If you handle a pet who has been in a fight with a potentially rabid animal, take precautions such as wearing gloves to keep any still-fresh saliva from getting into an open wound.