SABATTUS — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention notified the town office Wednesday of a raccoon that tested positive for rabies Sunday.

Town Manager Timothy Kane said the letter was the only information he received.

Animal Control Officer Jeff Cooper said the Maine Warden Service was called directly by a resident, but spokesman Mark Latti said in an email that information on the incident report was not immediately available.

Latti said despite recent rabies cases in Gray and Bowdoinham, there do not seem to be any upward trends.

Maine averages 50 to 80 rabies cases a year. When a call is received for a potential case, the closest emergency personnel respond to dispatch the animal. Brain tissue is needed to determine a positive case.

“Time is of the essence,” Latti said. “Rabies can be found in any mammal, but the most common carriers in Maine are red and gray fox, bats, raccoons, woodchucks and skunks. The state did confirm a rabid otter several years ago.”


Vigilance for strange-acting animals is encouraged this time of year, Latti said. Raccoons and skunks are becoming more active as spring creeps in and this time of year is the end of their mating season.

Rabies can be transferred through all bodily fluids.

Incubation periods for rabies can vary, but typically occurs 15 to 60 days before it starts to attack the brain, Latti said. The animal will start to show signs of infection, most notably aggression and strange behavior, and will die within three to seven days.

Rabies is treatable in humans quickly after exposure and deaths are rare, less than one every year, he said.

The best practice for avoiding rabies is to enjoy wildlife from a distance, remove pet food, bird seed on the ground and don’t feed wild animals, Latti advised.

“Our advice concerning rabies is to vaccinate your pet,” he said. “This is the best way to prevent the spread of rabies to humans. If you see an animal that appears to have lost their fear of humans, stay away; if you see an animal that you suspect is rabid, report it; if you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound and report it to your doctor.”

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