AUGUSTA — City officials are urging residents to be careful following an identified case of animal rabies in a skunk inside city limits.

On Tuesday, the city issued a warning to Northern Avenue residents after the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention notified city officials that the Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory confirmed the case.

Rabies is a viral disease that is often transmitted through a bite or exposure to the saliva of an infected animal. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it attacks mammals’ nervous systems, causing disease in the brain and eventually death. While any mammal can be infected, cases typically are found in bats, racoons, skunks and foxes.

In central Maine, the first reports of rabid animals in a given year typically come in mid- to late-March.

Anyone who sees animals acting out of the ordinary are asked to call the Augusta Police Department at 207-626-2370.

Officials urge caution when encountering wild animals and advise people to avoid touching them. They also recommend that pets are up to date on their rabies vaccines and that pets not be left unattended.

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