Wilmington, N.C. — Two raccoons in New Hanover County tested positive this month for rabies, bringing the county's number of confirmed rabies cases to 17 this year.
The cases happened in Wilmington and Castle Hayne, the county sheriff's office reported Thursday.
In Wilmington, animal control officers were called Friday about a raccoon roaming in Splitbrook Court. The raccoon was found and sent to the North Carolina Rabies Laboratory for testing, which confirmed the virus.
Officers determined a dog was potentially exposed to the raccoon, and the dog's owner had handled the pet. But the dog had an up-to-date vaccine and was given a booster shot after the exposure, authorities said.
In Castle Hayne, officers were called to Rockhill Road on Tuesday about a raccoon that fought with a dog. That raccoon was also trapped and taken to the state lab for testing, with positive results.
The dog's rabies vaccine was not current, so the animal will have to be destroyed or quarantined for six months as required by law.
Authorities encourage residents to be cautious around animals that are behaving oddly and call animal control. Residents should not handle dogs, cats or other pets that have been exposed to the virus.