The D.C. Department of Health is worried about a man who picked up a raccoon on March 18. The encounter has prompted the distribution of a strangely worded flier, which comes to us via Prince of Petworth.
Evidently, a guy and a raccoon crossed paths in the 1300 block of Shepherd Street NW. For some reason, the man picked up the animal and carried it around for a while. Unfortunately for him, the raccoon was later determined to be rabid. “The fliers were posted because we have been unable to locate him,” says DOH spokesperson Dena Iverson in an email.
Why are they trying so hard to find him? Because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, rabies is this dangerous: “The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.” The disease, which is usually transmitted by an animal bite, inspires funky symptoms. Though it starts off like the flu, rabies eventually progresses into “symptoms of cerebral dysfunction” like anxiety confusion and agitation. Next is stuff like delirium and hallucinations. After that, you’re pretty much screwed: “Once clinical signs of rabies appear,” says the CDC, “the disease is nearly always fatal, and treatment is typically supportive.”
Like the flier says (sort of), anyone who knows where the mysterious raccoon man is should call D.C. Animal Control at (202) 576-6664 or the Department of Health at (202) 535-2323. His life may depend on it.