15-year-old bitten by rabid raccoon in Polk County

In the tenth case of rabies confirmed in Polk County this year, a teen was bitten by a raccoon. He wants to warn others about animals that may seem a little too comfortable with humans.

Damien Ransom was skateboarding in the Providence neighborhood in Davenport when he saw the raccoon on the road. He said it seemed disoriented so he tried to help the animal across the road.

That, he says, was a bad idea. 

Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control officers responded after the rabid animal bit the boy. 

“He bit me twice let go and bit me again,” Damien said.

His friends took this cell phone video as they approached the seemingly harmless creature.

“That’s before I picked it up and I was rubbing its head to see if it was friendly and sure enough it was friendly about it,” Damien said.

Seconds later, the teen’s finger was bleeding and he knew he needed to tell his grandma what happened. Eight vaccines later, with six more to go, the Damien is being treated and says he's learned his lesson.

Officials say Damien and his grandma took the right steps by seeking immediate medical attention.

The raccoon was sent to the state laboratory in Tampa to be tested for rabies and was confirmed two days later. 

So far this year, the ten rabies cases in Polk County have consisted of five bats and five raccoons. 

In 2018, there were only three cases of rabies confirmed in Polk County.