ARLINGTON, MA – A raccoon attacking a child in Arlington earlier this week tested positive for rabies, city officials said. The attack happened Wednesday, Oct. 14, in the backyard of a home on Fountain Road.
The child, who is under 5, suffered bites and scratches before the mother chased the raccoon away, according to a statement from Arlington Police Chief Julie Flaherty and Christine Bongiorno, director of health and human services.
The child was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital and is expected to be okay.
Police searched the area and found a raccoon that appears lethargic on nearby Buena Vista Road around noon. 1
Arlington Animal Control brought the raccoon to a state test site to be tested for rabies. The Department of Health and Human Services was notified Friday that raccoons tested positive for rabies.
“While we do not believe there is any current danger to society, we would notify residents of this incident so they can pay attention to protecting their loved ones and pets,” Flaherty said in a statement. “Our thoughts go out to the family and the little child who may have suffered this terrible ordeal. If anyone notices wild animals acting aggressively or strangely, call the Arlington Police Department at 781-643-1212 to report it with it. Please avoid the animal in question and do not approach it. “
Rabies is a serious disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of mammals, including humans. The Arlington Police Department and the Department of Health and Human Services shared the following tips to prevent the spread of rabies:
“Rabies can make wildlife extremely aggressive towards humans and pets,” Bongiorno said. “It’s always important to be sure to never approach or feed wildlife. Keeping your trash covered and not leaving pet food outside your house can be helpful ways to prevent attracting unwanted wildlife into our neighborhoods.”