KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — A raccoon found in Lenoir County has tested positive for rabies, officials announced Thursday.

The animal was located “near the line between Pink Hill and Deep Run,” according to a press release. It is the first case of a raccoon being identified as rabid within Lenoir County in 2023. Eight raccoons found within the county tested positive for rabies in 2022.

“It is concerning to have had so many cases within Lenoir County within the last year,” Lenoir County Health Department Director Pamela Brown said. “Rabies is a disease that can lead to severe health consequences in people and animals. We want everyone to be safe, so please be aware of your surroundings when outside.”

The health department offered the following tips for keeping families and pets safe from rabies:

  • Let the Health Department, the hospital, or your doctor know if you have been scratched or bitten by or have handled an animal that could be rabid
  • Do not approach or touch a wild animal or an animal that could be rabid.
  • Ensure pets are up to date on rabies vaccinations.
  • Keep pets away from stray or wild animals.

For questions or concerns about rabies, call the Lenoir County Health Department at 252-526-4200. For information about vaccinating pets for rabies, the health department advises you to contact a veterinarian.