(CMR) The Department of Agriculture (DoA) has reported that the first captured raccoon has tested negative for both rabies and canine distemper viruses, which are known to be carried by raccoons.
“The Department of Agriculture is relieved to learn that the animal was free of both of these very serious diseases, especially given that following the animal's capture it was showing clinical signs of ill health”, stated Dr. Larry Caven, Senior Veterinary Officer.
The second raccoon, which was captured on Tuesday, November 2, was confirmed to be a juvenile male, like the first. Examination of the animal revealed that it had a compound fracture of the leg. Given the animal's injury, it was humanely euthanized shortly after capture to prevent any further pain and suffering. Tissue samples were collected for mandatory testing necessary to determine its disease status.
“It is essential that the department confirms the rabies status of both animals in order to determine if the Cayman Islands rabies status has in any way been compromised” stated Brian Crichlow, Assistant Director, DoA.
Mr. Crichlow further stated, “Maintaining the Cayman Islands rabies-free status is of utmost importance as any change to this would not only pose a serious risk to the local human, and animal population, but would have significant implications as it relates to animal and human vaccination. The Department is very grateful for the help and assistance of the persons who reported the original and subsequent sightings, which led to the capture of the animals. It shows how important the public’s assistance is in these situations”.
The Department of Agriculture is obligated to report the matter to the World Animal Health Organization and provide evidentiary proof as to the disease status of both animals as part of its international reporting obligations.