In Brunswick earlier this month after coming reports of four events including a rabid fox and in Rockland attack by a rabid otter, residents of central Maine are on edge whenever they have sight of wild animals.
People are warned by the officials, who are dealing with this problem, as opposed to stressing too much everytime they see a fox or raccoon.
“I don’t know if it’s been because of all the media exposure, but we’ve been getting a lot of calls,” Sgt. Aaron Cross of the Maine Warden Service said Monday.
“We live where animals live,” Cross said. “The animals are being fairly normal and exhibiting pretty normal animal behavior.”
The central Maine landscape is dotted by urban and suburban areas, and many times they are also connected by large swaths of field and forest.
This means that animal control officers attached to municipal police departments are also fielding calls from people who concerned that they may meet with an infected wild animal that would create a threat to them, their family or their families’ pets.
“We have no evidence that any of the foxes that have been seen are rabid, Paul Frye, animal control officer with the Augusta Police Department, said.
“I have received no information of any of the animals being aggressive toward other animals or humans. People are not used to seeing animals out during the day and think that because they are out, something must be wrong. All of my inquiries to wildlife officials have told me that this is not accurate,” Frye said.
It doesn’t mean that interactions with wildlife should be managed in an ignorant way. Cross said it’s important to be cautious around wild animals.
The Department of Health and Human Services also published a fact sheet on rabies, with have information about what rabies is and what steps are needed in protection from rabies.
Rabies is a viral infection of the nervous system, which also comprises the spinal cord and the brain. It can be spread through contact with the saliva of an infected animal or nerve tissue of an infected mammal mainly on a bruiser or on injured skin or by a bite rabid animal.
Symptoms of rabies include an animal acting abnormally. They can either start acting shyly or aggressively or, or stumbling or appear lame.
By law, all dogs and cats are needed to get a vaccination to get rid of rabies.
If a person came in contact with a rabid animal or bitten by an infected animal, it is suggested by state health officials that they should to wash the affected area with soap and water at least for 10 minutes, then they should immediately contact their doctor, local animal control officer or any local health official.
In order to a wild animal, whether has rabies or not, they should be tested for that they first they must be must be captured and stop them from running or moving out.
If any family pet has a doubt of getting infected then they must be quarantined and should be kept in observation for nearly 10 days to check if there are any signs of rabies.
Frye said dozens of complaints come to the Augusta Police Department every day.
“We continue to try and find this animal to evaluate its health but (we) have been unsuccessful thus far,” he said.
Cross said one of the most common calls the Warden Service fields is for skunks being sighted during the day.
“It’s hard to explain to the public that it’s common to see them during the day,” he said.
Cross said the Warden Service doesn’t want to discourage anyone from calling if they have concerns, but at the same time, it doesn’t want Maine residents worrying that all wild animals they see are sick or are carrying a disease.
“They have to be somewhere,” he said, “and they are out doing something.”