According to the state Department of Public Health, five of the 23 raccoons that tested positive for rabies in Fairfield County in 2010 were found in Weston. Statewide, 112 animals (62 of them raccoons) tested positive for the disease in 2010. However, Weston’s animal control officer reports that he disposes of scores of wild animals every year that he is fairly certain were rabid.

Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that travels through the body to the brain via the nervous system. Once it reaches the brain, it causes encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which results in neurological damage and cannot be treated. 

During the last 15-20 years, there has been an outbreak of rabies along the East Coast. Raccoons, skunks, and bats are the most common carriers of the rabies virus.

The best way to protect yourself against rabies is to not approach or handle wild animals (dead or alive) or strange pets and to keep your own pets vaccinated.