Rabid Raccoon Caught in Courtyard

Harvard Warns Dunster Residents of Potential Rabies Danger

Harvard is warning residents of a potential rabies danger following the capture of a rabid raccoon in the Dunster House courtyard last Friday afternoon.

The raccoon was captured by Harvard Operations Center employee Roger D. Baker, who was alerted of the animal by House residents.

"The raccoon was acting aggressive," said Baker. "He came out of the shrub and challenged me. I tried to prevent him entering the dorm and so I held out a trash barrel which he ran into."

Animal Control then came to remove the raccoon and the area was sanitized, according to Baker.

Baker was sent to University Health Services (UHS) on Tuesday when a state lab diagnosed the raccoon with rabies. As a precautionary measure, Baker was asked to take eight shots between then and March 25.

"This was a potentially dangerous situation and shows the lengths that Harvard employees will go to to ensure the welfare of the students," Baker said.

Wayne L. Jones '97, a Dunster resident who witnessed the capture, described the raccoon as "quite adorable."

"He was behaving a little unusually but certainly not foaming at the mouth," Jones said.

Baker suggested that appearances can be deceptive and warned students to stay away from unfamiliar animals.

"Although you would think they were harmless, if you see a raccoon in the daytime, he's out too early and there's something wrong," Baker said.

Dr. David S. Rosenthal '59, director of UHS and Oliver professor of hygiene, asked those who assisted in capturing the animal or were in the area at the time to come to UHS and seek medical attention.

"Students should get checked out at UHS, and any animals should be checked with a veterinarian," Rosenthal said.

According to Rosenthal, the last sighting of a rabid animal at Harvard was in the Yard during the spring of 1993.