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HHS warns of potential rabies exposure in Maddock

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The North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services is warning the public about a potential rabies exposure, after a situation involving a raccoon in Maddock. Amanda Bakken, an epidemiologist with HHS says on the evening of September 6th, a captive raccoon spent about an hour in a Maddock bar.

"We are not certain how much interaction the raccoon might have had with other individuals or where it was located within the bar. We are just asking anyone who was potentially exposed to it, in contact with the raccoon on that night, to let us know, give us a call and speak with us about potential exposures. Or, they can also contact their primary care provider and they can also help determine what type of interaction and how to proceed from there."

Bakken says to stay away from wild animals, especially if they approach you or are acting strange in any way. She says rabies is most commonly found in bats, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and foxes and it can then be transmitted to unvaccinated cats, dogs, and farm animals.

"Rabies is actually probably the deadliest disease, just from the fact that it has an almost 100% mortality rate. What that means is it can be potentially cured, up until the virus reaches the brain. At that point, medication is not effective."

In 2022, six rabid animals have been reported in North Dakota, including two bats, two cats, one bovine, and one skunk. People concerned about being exposed to the rabies should contact their doctor immediately.