2012-05-15


County Health Dept. Issues Rabies Warning

Rabid Raccoon Captured in Lawrenceville Prompts Warning

The Allegheny County Health Department is warning the public to avoid contact with raccoons and other animals which may carry the rabies virus. 

A raccoon recently captured in the vicinity of 43½ Street and Railroad Street in Lawrenceville has tested positive for rabies and prompted the warning.  Rabies is most commonly seen in raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, groundhogs and stray cats.

Health officials warn that when you see these animals anywhere or if one comes on your property, don’t touch or go near it.  In most cases, the animal will eventually go away but if it should stay or become threatening, call your local animal control service, the police or the Game Commission.

In addition, pet owners are advised to vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies and keep them away from raccoons and other animals that may carry the virus.  

If your pet encounters such an animal, especially if it is bitten or comes in contact with their saliva, wear rubber gloves when handling your pet, cleanse any wounds with soap and water and take it to a veterinarian for examination.

If you are ever bitten, scratched or otherwise exposed to saliva from a raccoon or any other animal, cleanse the contact area with soap and water, seek emergency medical treatment and call the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD to report the incident.

Rabies is almost always fatal when exposures are left untreated.  The rabies vaccine is highly effective when given promptly after an exposure, but is still a major expense and inconvenience that can be avoided by not having contact with potentially rabid animals.

The rabies treatment nowadays consists of relatively painless injections in the arm instead of the excruciating stomach injections given many years ago.

Three rabid animals, all raccoons, have been reported in the County this year.

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