A positive case of rabies has been confirmed in a raccoon in western New Brunswick, the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries announced Thursday.
The case in the Upiper Kent area, between Florenceville-Bristol and Perth-Andover, is the first confirmed raccoon variant rabies case in New Brunswick in more than two years, according to the province's online surveillance map.
Public Health does not consider the case to be a threat to the general public, according to a news release.
Anyone at risk of exposure to the virus after contact with a rabid animal can be provided with effective treatment, it said.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system of mammals. It is deadly for wild animals and family pets and can also kill people if they are exposed and are not treated promptly.
The province plans to vaccinate raccoons and skunks in the area against rabies in the coming days by distributing rabies vaccine baits for them to eat. This is an extension of the annual summer rabies prevention and control measures conducted in western New Brunswick since 2014.
The oral vaccine baits "pose little risk to humans or domestic animals," the department said, but anyone who finds one should leave it alone.
Some live traps will also be set to help monitor the population.
What to do
Rabid animals may not immediately show signs or symptoms, the department said.
"People are urged to take steps to protect themselves, their families, their pets and any livestock from rabies by keeping a safe distance from wildlife, by not adopting wildlife as pets, by not interfering with wild animals that appear abandoned, and not moving or relocating wildlife."
The department is also encouraging New Brunswickers to ensure their pet's vaccinations are up to date and to seek prompt medical attention if they've been bitten or scratched by a potentially rabid animal.
People should report any raccoons, skunks or foxes that appear sick and may have rabies to Tele-Care 811.