Vermont Department of Health Rabies Alert

For Immediate Release: July 2, 2003

Contact: Nancy Erickson
Vermont Department of Health

Call the Health Department if You’ve Handled Raccoons

BURLINGTON, VT—The Vermont Department of Health wants to hear from anyone who has been in contact with raccoons in Ethan Allen Park. Please call 1-800-640-4374.

A baby raccoon that was taken from Ethan Allen Park on or about June 15 has tested positive for rabies. Two adults who handled the raccoon have been referred to their physicians for post-exposure treatment.

The Health Department wants to talk to anyone who was in contact with raccoons in the park or anywhere to evaluate any possible exposure to rabies.

Rabies is a fatal disease that can be transferred from animals to people. Exposure to rabies can occur when saliva from an infected animal gets into a fresh, open scratch or on to a mucous membrane, such as the mouth or eyes, or if a person is scratched by the animal.

Even raccoons that appear to be healthy could be a source of exposure to rabies. Twelve raccoons have tested positive for rabies so far this year in Vermont, including five in Chittenden County.

Health officials continue to remind residents and visitors to enjoy wildlife—from a healthy distance.