Two raccoon-related incidents in Springfield have left one man taking
medication after a positive identification of rabies, and a woman not knowing if the animal that bit her was rabid or not.
The first incident occurred June 7 in the Kings Park area of Springfield when a raccoon bit a man who was gardening in the 5300 block of Kings Park Drive. The man told police the raccoon sneaked up on him from behind and bit him, causing almost a 12-inch- long laceration.
Animal control responded to the scene and then shot the animal when they say it charged an officer. It subsequently was laboratory tested and found to be positive for rabies. The victim was treated and is taking appropriate medications.
Three days later on June 10 in the same area of the county, near the South Run RECenter, a 75-year-old woman told police she was walking along a paved path near the overpass of Lee Chapel Road when she stopped to take a photograph of a raccoon. She said it suddenly charged her, and she sustained bites on her leg, hands and forearms. She was transported to the hospital for treatment.
That raccoon has not been captured or identified and was last seen running into the park. Officers and park personnel are searching for the raccoon; the trail nearby is temporarily closed.
It is unknown at present whether or not the animal is rabid; however, aggressive tendencies are one of the signs of rabies, police said.
So far in 2015, there have been 21 positive rabies cases investigated by county Animal Control officers; there were 50 in 2014. Animal Control officials remind residents that simply seeing a raccoon during the day is not a sign of rabies, but they advise everyone to always keep their distance from all wildlife. To report an incident, call the Fairfax County Police Department’s Animal Control Services at 703-691-2131.