BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Palm Beach County Health Department has issued a rabies warning after a raccoon that bit an 8-year-old Boca Raton boy Sunday tested positive for the deadly disease.
The child and his mother were in their yard near Sandalfoot Boulevard and U.S. 441 on Sunday when a raccoon approached the family dog, Health Department spokesman Tim O'Connor said. The child intervened and the raccoon turned on the boy and bit him.
The boy's mother and a neighbor killed the raccoon and rushed the boy to a hospital to begin treatment for rabies. He was given a shot of rabies vaccine as a precaution.
The Florida State Laboratory in Jacksonville confirmed today that the raccoon was rabid. As a result, the boy will receive three additional rabies vaccine shots over the next 14 days.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can be prevented but not cured. It attacks the nerves and brain tissue of animals with warm blood, including people.
Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control will be posting flyers throughout the boy's neighborhood to warn people to watch out for any wildlife that may be aggressive due to rabies.
Anyone who is attacked and bitten by an animal should contact their nearest hospital or the county Health Department so that precautionary vaccines may need to be administered. Animals showing signs either of sickness or aggressive behavior should be reported to Animal Care and Control at (561) 233-1200.