More than 40 people in Haywood County might have been exposed to rabies after a baby raccoon a family was caring for died and tested positive for the disease.
The raccoon died of rabies infection Aug. 13. Prior to its death and before the animal showed symptoms, dozens of adults and children handled the raccoon. The Haywood County Health Department sent letters to the Haywood residents last week, advising them that anyone exposed to the raccoon between June 21 and Aug. 16 should be seen by their doctor or health-care provider for assessment.
This marked the second time since early July where Haywood County residents were possibly exposed to rabies through situation that could have been prevented, said Julia Plemmons, nursing director for the Haywood County Health Department. Campers were exposed to bats while sleeping in buildings where bats were present.
Rabies is a fatal disease in humans, but getting prompt treatment can prevent it from development.