PERU — A baby raccoon tested positive for rabies, and health officials are looking for several people who may have had contact with it.
The animal was one of three orphaned kits found July 5 at the Peru Boat Launch on Route 9, according to the Clinton County Health Department.
“There were reportedly several people in very close proximity to the raccoons and taking pictures,” a press release said.
“The raccoons were picked up by a (State Department of Environmental Conservation) park ranger and transported to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Essex County.”
All three raccoons died, and one was sent for rabies testing. The positive results came back on Thursday.
“Any person who was in contact with any raccoons at the Peru Boat Launch on or before July 5th should call the Health Department at (518) 565-4870 for advice as soon as possible,” Director of Public Health Jerie Reid said in the release.
Three other raccoons, a bat, a gray fox and a skunk in Clinton County have proved to have rabies since Jan. 1; several animals in Essex County have tested positive for the deadly neurological disease, as well.
Health officials once again are warning people to:
• Use caution around all wild animals, especially raccoons, skunks and foxes. Tell children not to approach wildlife.
• Have pets vaccinated against rabies immediately.
• Report all animal bites to your local health department. It is very important that followup is done on the biting animal to protect the health of the person bitten.
• Report all contact with bats, including any found in the same room with a sleeping person, to your local health department.
• Don’t leave puppies, kittens and other small pets outside alone, even in a fenced area.
• If your pet fights with a wild animal, put gloves on before you handle the pet. Call your veterinarian or the local health department for advice.