Things not to do with racoons

From Scott Weese’s Worms and Germs Blog:

I’ll hold back and just classify this as “not a great idea.”

At least 21 people in Macon, GA, are undergoing rabies post-exposure prophylaxis after having contact with a rabid raccoon.

How do that many people get exposed to a single raccoon?

Step 1: Take a wild raccoon and try to make it into a pet

Bad idea and illegal most places (including Ontario).

Step 2: Take it to a “Raccoon or kitten event” (whatever that is) where the public gets to play with it.

That’s it.  But should be followed up by…

Step 3: Talk to your insurance company because tens (or  hundreds) of thousands of dollars of treatment may be required.

Thirty-seven (37) people who visited the event had been contacted at last report, and 33 were considered potentially exposed to rabies through contact with this raccoon. Twenty-one (21) are undergoing post-exposure prophylaxisso far, and presumably (hopefully) the rest will be treated soon. That’s why standard guidelines say that rabies reservoir species like raccoons should never be used for public contact events.  Wildlife should be left in the wild.