MADDOCK, N.D. (AP) — A woman carrying a raccoon into a North Dakota bar, health officials are warning people who come into contact with the animal could develop rabies.
Bartender Cindy Smith said she was serving drinks at Maddock’s Bar last week when a local resident brought the animal to happy hour. She said there were about 10 people in the living room at the time.
Smith said she immediately asked the woman to leave, but instead took Raku around the bar to show another customer. The woman finally left with the animal after five minutes.
“We finally got it out with her, and that was it,” Smith said. The Bismarck Tribune. “She didn’t let go of her hands once, and there was no bite.”
Madoc is a town of about 500 people located 85 miles (137 km) from the Canadian border.
Rabies is a viral infection that affects mammals, including humans. The North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services issued an alert Tuesday urging anyone who has been bitten or has come into contact with raccoon saliva to seek medical attention.
Epidemiologist Amanda Bakken said in a statement: “Because rabies is a serious disease with a fatality rate of nearly 100%, we are making this information available to the public as a precaution.”
Six rabies have been spotted in North Dakota this year; Among them were two bats, two cats, one cow and one skunk.
“I didn’t know what she was thinking,” Smith said.