HYANNIS – Barnstable County’s Department of Health and Environment has reported a rabies-positive raccoon, marking the first known case of terrestrial (non-bat) rabies in the Cape in eight years.
Health communications coordinator Bethany Traverse said there was no human contact with the raccoon. Rabies in wildlife, primarily raccoons, skunks and foxes, has been effectively controlled in Barnstable County through the distribution of oral rabies vaccines and testing conducted by the Cape Cod & Southeast MA Rabies Task Force each spring and fall.
Barnstable County’s Department of Health and Environment (BCDHE) works closely with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Phytosanitary Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) and the Barnstable City Department of Health and the Department of Marine and Environment to conduct targeted and comprehensive trapping , Vaccination and release program. Rabies tests are carried out on wild animals that have been found injured, sick, or dead.
It is important for the public to keep themselves, children, and pets away from wild and stray animals. Pet owners are also reminded to keep their pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date. Remember, you cannot tell if an animal has rabies just by looking at it. If you see strange behavior from an animal, please call your local animal welfare officer.
As a reminder, catching and moving wild animals is illegal and can harm the animal. Animals relocated to Cape Cod have been found to be infected with rabies in the past. Please visit Wildlife Moving | Mass.gov for more information.
Further information on rabies prevention and remediation can be found at https://www.barnstablecountyhealth.org/programs-and-services/rabies-awareness