On the night of March 23rd a raccoon was killed in the Heron Pointe Village of Bay Creek. After tests by Northampton County, it was reported that the animal was indeed infected with the rabies virus. Residents are urged to be vigilant, and report any animal showing signs of rabies.
Signs and Symptoms of Rabies
Once rabies infection occurs, the virus grows in muscle tissue and may go undetected for several days or months. During this incubation (or latent) period, the animal appears healthy and shows no sign of infection.
Usually within 1 to 3 months, the virus migrates to the nerves near the site of the infection and spreads to the spinal cord and brain (i.e., the central nervous system). It usually takes from 12 to 180 days to spread through the peripheral nerves to the central nervous system. At this point, the disease progresses rapidly, and the animal begins to show the classic behavioral signs of rabies. The virus spreads to the saliva, tears, breast milk and urine. The animal usually dies in 4 or 5 days.
Rabies causes typical symptoms. The infection progresses in a predictable manner, from the initial prodormal phase to the excitative, or furious, phase to the final paralytic phase.
The first sign usually is a change in behavior. Pet owners should be aware that behavioral changes can occur as a result of many conditions, from digestive disorders to poisoning.
Rabid animals usually stop eating and drinking, and may appear to want to be left alone. After the initial onset of symptoms, the animal may become vicious or begin to show signs of paralysis. Some rabid animals bite at the slightest provocation and others may be somnolent and difficult to arouse. Once the animal shows signs of paralysis, the disease progresses very quickly and the animal dies (source: http://www.healthcommunities.com).