Health officials in Brookline issued a rabies alert this afternoon after a raccoon suspected of having rabies attacked a pet cat on Brook Street Monday.
The cat is being treated at the Angel Memorial Hospital in Jamaica Plain after it was severely bitten several times by the raccoon Monday morning during daylight hours, according to Brookline officials.
Brookline Public Health Nurse Barbara Westley said Tuesday evening that she does not believe the raccoon has been captured to be tested for rabies, so health officials wanted to alert residents about the attack.
The cat belongs to a resident of North Brookline who reported hearing loud noises from her second floor porch before she encountered her cat being viciously attacked by a large raccoon, according to Brookline Police. The woman used a broom in an effort to separate the animals, but the raccoon continued trying to attack the cat, police said.
Westley said the cat had been vaccinated for rabies.
After the attack, police said a neighbor spotted the large raccoon in Linden Park. Brookline officials said another raccoon that was picked up in Jamaica Plain on Sept. 29 tested positive for rabies. Two weeks ago, health officials in Brookline also issued a warning about a bat captured in the town that tested positive for rabies, but Westley said raccoons and bats carry two different types of rabies.
Health officials are advising people in Brookline to avoid wild or stray animals of any kind, including raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes and woodchucks.
Rabies is transmitted to humans via bites or scratches that may contain the infected animal’s saliva, according to the health department. Anyone who has had direct contact with a rabid animal must immediately seek preventive treatment from their health care provider and notify the Brookline Department of Public Health at 617-730-2300.