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Her Baby Raccoon Rescue Goes Spectacularly Wrong

Woman and 20 of her friends need rabies shots after she takes in abandoned animal
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2018 1:30 PM CDT
In this July 4, 2018 photo a raccoon sits on a fence in Prietzen, eastern Germany.   (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)

(Newser) – A woman recently brought a cute baby raccoon into her Colorado home, causing an ugly situation, officials said last week. According to authorities in Weld County, the woman brought in the abandoned animal, which ended up testing positive for rabies. Subsequently, 21 people had to be preemptively treated for rabies exposure. Per the Greeley Tribune, 20 of those treated were potentially exposed after visiting the woman's home hoping to catch a glimpse of the baby animal. Authorities became concerned after the woman reportedly contacted a shelter to ask if the animal could be rehabilitated. Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment then tested it for the deadly virus.

The positive result meant the woman, and all 20 of her friends who were eager to see the baby raccoon, had to be treated. As LiveScience notes, health officials said it was the largest rabies exposure case ever recorded in Weld County. The county released a statement on the incident, urging people to steer clear of wild animals, especially with an apparent heightened risk for contagion this season. “This looks like a year for high rabies exposure in animals,” said Mark Wallace, executive director of the Weld County Health Department. “It is very important that people not touch or go near wild animals.” The statement went on to specify that, even if they're adorable, people need to "leave orphaned animals alone." The 21 people treated are reportedly all doing fine. (Read more raccoons stories.)

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