PORTVILLE, NY -- A rabid raccoon attacked a person and several domestic animals at a private residence on Whitehouse Road on March 6 before it was captured.

Laboratory testing by the New York State Department of Health confirmed that the animal was infected with the rabies virus. The incident is the eighth laboratory-confirmed case of rabies exposure in Cattaraugus County in the past 12 months.

Rabies is common in the wild and is found throughout the county is region, and the Health Department asks all residents to be aware of any unusual behavior in animals, both domestic and wild.

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Symptoms of rabies in animals include unusual behavior (passive or aggressive), staggering, convulsions and neurological symptoms such as partial paralysis or seizures. The rabies virus is transmitted via the saliva of a rabid animal, primarily through a bite or scratch. Immediate medical treatment is required.

Infection by the rabies virus can be fatal for mammals, including cats, dogs and humans. Any resident believing themselves or their pets may have been in contact with a rabid animals should contact the Cattaraugus County Health Department immediately at (716) 701-3386.

The Health Department would like to remind all cat and dog owners to ensure that their pets are current on their rabies vaccinations. New York State requires rabies vaccinations for all cats, dogs and domestic ferrets over four months of age, including indoor animals.