West Virginia officials want the public to help them find a person apparently bitten by a rabid raccoon while trying to remove it from a highway.
The Department of Health and Human Resources says the incident occurred Sunday in Pendleton County.
Dr. Marian Swinker says an unidentified white male was seen holding an injured raccoon on U.S. Route 220, accompanied by a woman and a child.
The woman told the witness that someone in the car had been bitten. The group then left, headed south between Franklin and Monterey, Va.
The witness took the raccoon to a veterinary clinic, and it tested positive for rabies Tuesday.
Swinker says rabies is almost always fatal by the time symptoms appear, so the person needs immediate medical treatment.
"Rabies is serious and is most always fatal once clinical signs appear," Swinker said.
Anyone who knows of the person who may have been bitten is urged to contact the Pendleton County Health Department at 304-358-7565 or the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health at 304-558-5358.
Anyone who may have been bitten by a raccoon should seek medical attention immediately and contact the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health at 304-558-5358.
More information about rabies is available at www.dide.wv.gov.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.