A Maine woman who brought a young raccoon into a Petco may have exposed a number of people to rabies.
The woman, who has not been identified, brought the raccoon into the Auburn Petco at around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
While the woman was waiting to inquire about services for the animal, several people reportedly touched and kissed the raccoon. The woman was asked to leave the store, and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Maine Warden Service were contacted.
Raccoons are a common vector of rabies, and MDIF&W officials advise anyone who came in contact with the animal to contact their personal health care provider.
Earlier this year, a Bowdoinham woman was attacked inside her residence after a rabid raccoon came into her sun room through a pet door. She was bitten on the leg and had to undergo treatment after the animal tested positive for rabies.
At least a dozen raccoons tested positive for rabies after coming into contact with humans in 2022. Over the past decade, raccoons have been the leading source of rabies-to-human infection.
Anyone with information about the woman with the raccoon is encouraged to contact the Maine Warden Service at 1-800-452-4664. Anyone with questions about rabies exposures can contact the Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821.
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