Rise in rabid animals in Conn.


(WTNH) — There’s been a rise in rabid animals in Connecticut and if you come in contact with one, the treatment process is long and painful.

While three women were attacked by a rabid bobcat in Colechester, DEEP Wildlife Biologist Chris Vann says foxes, skunks and raccoons are the most common animals infected with rabies.

“If you look at raccoon populations, it does fluctuate. As the raccoon population increases, there’s a greater percentage of rabies testing positive, so yes, it is a population dependent disease,” said Vann.

If you look at the numbers for 2015:

85 raccoons
44 skunk
27 bats
5 Foxes
5 cats
1 dog
1 bobcat

Vann says with the most popular wild animals, if you see them in broad daylight up close, that should be a red flag that you should start looking for other symptoms.

“Usually it’s in addition to being disoriented, stumbling, foaming at the mouth, acting aggressive, abnormally aggressive,” said Vann.

If you are bitten, you’re most likely going to have to go to an emergency room, like St. Francis, where they keep the live virus vaccine on hand. Because it is live, doctors offices don’t usually stock it or keep it.

Dr. Tom Bernell, an emergency room doctor at Saint Francis, says you must get treated if you have rabies because in the end it is a fatal disease.

“The modern day treatment is the initial vaccination with immune globulin so that it is done per weight basis and that can be four or five shots,” said Bernell.

Dr. Bernell says the initial shots are followed up with a series of vaccinations. Another shot the next day, another shot in a week and then in two weeks, and the injections are spread out through the body to lessen the pain and soreness.

“But they are not shots in the stomach, none of that. It will be a shot here in the arm of the other arm maybe one in the leg,” said Bernell.

If you do run across an animal that appears to be rabid, stay indoors, call your local police and bring your pets inside.

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