Raccoon found in Robinson Township tests positive for rabies
A raccoon found in the 200 block of North Petrie Road in Robinson Township has tested positive for rabies, according to a statement from the Allegheny County Health Department.
It’s the 17th rabid animal reported in Allegheny County so far in 2019. The list includes 14 raccoons, two bats and one cat.
In order to combat the problem, rabies vaccine baits will be dropped from helicopters for the first time in Allegheny County from Aug. 18-21. The baits are part of a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services’ National Rabies Management Program, aimed at eradicating rabies in raccoons.
Baits will be dropped in all of Allegheny County and parts of Ohio and West Virginia by hand, helicopter and airplane, the USDA said.
Raccoons that eat the bait will be vaccinated against rabies by developing antibodies in two or three weeks after ingesting it. The health department said the vaccines may protect raccoons from other infected animals and if enough are vaccinated, the risk of the spread of rabies will be greatly reduced.
Rabies is a virus transmitted by an animal bite or scratch. Left untreated, exposure due to a bite or scratch is almost always fatal.
Anyone who is bitten, scratched or otherwise exposed to saliva from a stray or any other animal, is instructed to immediately cleanse the contact area with soap and water, seek emergency medical treatment and call the Allegheny County Health Department to report the incident.
The ACHD urges residents to always avoid wild and stray animals to avoid exposure to rabies and to make sure their pets are up-to-date with vaccinations.
If any animal appears to be acting strangely or in a threatening manner, residents should notify their local animal control service, the police or the Pennsylvania Game Commission immediately.
Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected].