The Department of Health Monday warned Fulton County residents of a potentially rabid black and white ferret that bit one individual and may have bitten two others since April 12.
The department is seeking to identify two individuals who were observed handling the animal and may have been bitten: one female described as Mennonite in her mid-20s with blonde hair riding or driving in a black van; and one male, approximately in his mid-20s with multiple piercings.
A third individual was bitten and received treatment.
The aggressive animal has been spotted near a single lane bridge along Cherry Lane, just south of Hustontown.
Anyone who sees the animal should not approach or try to capture it, but rather call the Game Commission at 814-643-1831.
The department urges anyone who may have been bitten or exposed to saliva, fluids, or tissue from the ferret to call the Fulton County State Health Center at 717-485-5137 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Residents with questions can also call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
Exposure includes either having been bitten or scratched by an animal, or had saliva, nervous system fluid, or tissue from an animal enter a person's eyes, nose, mouth, or open wound. Under these circumstances, individuals should seek immediate medical attention.
Anyone with a pet that may have encountered the ferret should contact a veterinarian for information about how to protect the animal, the owner, and family members.
The department also reminds all residents to avoid contact with feral animals of any kind, as it can be difficult to tell if an animal is rabid.
All animals that can be vaccinated, including but not limited to cats, dogs, and ferrets, should be given the rabies vaccine to protect them in case they are ever exposed to a rabid animal.For more information on this disease, visit the Department of Health’s Rabies webpage.