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Child recovers after being attacked by rabid raccoons in Massachusetts community

The attack on a small child by a raccoon last week has prompted officials in a Massachusetts community to remind people to keep an eye on children and pets.

The warning came when Arlington Police Chief Julie Flaherty and Director of Health and Human Services Christine Bongiorno announced the raccoon tested positive for rabies.

Police were called to a home on Fountain Road on Oct. 1

4 around 6 p.m. 16.15 for a report that a small child had been bitten by an animal, police said.

When officers arrived, they saw the child, who was under the age of 5, was placed in an ambulance and given medical attention by members of the Arlington Fire Department with the child’s mother.

“An on-site investigation determined the child was in the backyard of the family home and was attacked by a large raccoon,” authorities said. “The child’s mother stopped the attack and was able to chase the animal away and called 911. The child received bites and scratches from the raccoon.”

The child was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital and is expected to be OK.

Officers could not find the raccoon involved in the attack on the child in their original search.

Just over an hour later, officers located a raccoon who was acting “sluggish” and believed it was the animal that was attacking the child.

Additional officers responded to the area and the raccoon was humanly killed.

The Arlington Animal Control Officer subsequently responded to the scene, assembled the animal and brought it to a state test site to be tested for rabies. The Arlington Department of Health and Human Services was notified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that they had confirmed that the raccoon had tested positive for rabies, authorities said.

“While we do not believe there is any current danger to the community, we would inform residents of this incident so they can pay attention to protecting their loved ones and pets,” Flaherty said. “Our thoughts go out to the family and the little child who may have suffered this terrible ordeal.”

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