Another Warren County raccoon has tested positive for rabies.
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture alert on Wednesday, a homeowner in Sheffield Township found a dead raccoon which had suffered bite wounds on North Street in Sheffield.
Testing at the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory resulted in a positive result for rabies.
The confirmation follows two other alerts concerning rabid raccoon issued on Sept. 6 and 7.
The Sept. 6 alert concerned a sick raccoon was found lying along Greene Avenue in Conewango Township on Aug. 31. A homeowner subsequently shot the animal and submitted it to the state laboratory.
The Sept. 7 alert concerned a raccoon picked up by a dog being walked on Hazeltine Hollow Road in Sugar Grove Township. The dog's owner noticed the raccoon was alive and contacted the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Game Commission personnel submitted the animal to the state laboratory.
No humans were exposed to the diseased animals in any of the three cases. The dog listed in the Sept. 7 alert had current rabies vaccinations, but was quarantined for 90 days as a precaution.
Under Pennsylvania law, all dogs and non-feral cats three months of age and older must be vaccinated against rabies. Booster vaccinations must be maintained for the animals. A fine of up to $300 may be imposed for failure to comply with the law.
The Department of Agriculture's rabies map of Pennsylvania lists Warren County as having had three positive tests for rabies in 2012 two infected raccoons and one bat but data is only posted through July 31 and does not include any of the three recent cases.
According to the Department of Agriculture, "Rabies is a virus of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) that can affect any mammal. Rabies is widespread throughout Pennsylvania."
It also states that rabies symptoms exhibit in two forms, but the disease may exhibit no symptoms except eventual death. Forms of symptoms may also progress back and forth or from one to the other.
The first or "furious", form, includes symptoms of aggression, loss of fear, daytime activity by nocturnal species, attraction to noise and human activity, excess vocalization, dilated pupils, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, restlessness, biting at objects and other animals and sometimes drooling.
The second, or "paralytic", form, includes symptoms of decreased activity, uncoordinated movement and hind limb weakness. Cats may meow excessively. Progression of the disease can be marked by the animal dropping its lower draw, drooling, an inability to swallow and eventual paralysis and death.
According to the Department of Agriculture, rabies undergoes an incubation period from virus exposure to visibility of symptoms of between two weeks and a year. During the incubation period an animal cannot transmit the virus.