Sunday, July 28, 2013

One hell of a way to die

Some people don't like spiders, for others is snakes, or rats, or well, you name it. For me, its raccoons. You might call it a phobia, I wouldn't. A phobia is an irrational fear, mine is very rational. One of my earliest memories is of raccoons. I was playing out in the yard with my nephew. I was about a year and a half. My sister came running and grabbed us, then headed for the house. She had me under her arm facing backward, and as she ran, we were pursued by a raccoon. The only thing between us and it was our dog who was running backward, snarling and growling at that coon. When we reached the safety of the enclosed porch, I vividly remember watching as the coon climbed the corner of the house to the roof of the porch.

That coon, was one of three who came into our yard that day. I've had nightmares about it all my life, and since some things from early childhood are make believe, I recently asked my sister about it. She confirmed that my memory was indeed correct, but that we had several instances that summer where rabid raccoons wandered into the farmstead.

Fast forward to 2013, and raccoons with rabies are again in the news. This one caused two fatalities. How you ask? Well, as it happens, the first victim was not diagnosed with rabies when he died in 2011, and his organs were harvested for transplant. The victim was bitten at least twice by coons and not treated. Seven months after the second bite, he died with symptoms including nausea, vomiting and fever. Due to the incorrect diagnosis, his kidneys, heart and live were transplanted. It was a year and a half later that the second death occurred. One of the kidney recipients died from rabies in February of this year. The other three recipients have undergone rabies vaccinations and show no signs of the disease.

If you are into the outdoors, be careful. Any warm blooded animal can carry rabies, and depending on the severity of the bite, it may take a week, a month, or even longer for symptoms to appear. Wild animals, and especially coons are encroaching into our cities and suburbs. They pose a danger! If you have them in your neighborhood, notify a trapper. They can use humane methods to eradicate the vermin so your neighbors won't be offended by an animal struggling in a leg hold trap. In urban settings, leg holds are the worst. Some peta puke might see the animal, attempt a rescue, and get their ass bitten. On second thought, demand leg hold traps. Two birds with one stone so to speak.

No comments: