While jogging on a trail in Maine near her house, Rachel Borch came across a rabid raccoon.
The raccoon followed her as she ran and started jumping and dancing around her feet. Borch dropped her phone. She could tell as soon as she saw the animal that it was rabid, and she admitted she was terrified.
"I knew it was going to bite me," Borch said in an interview.
Since the path was too narrow for Borch to run around the raccoon, she held it down with her hands.
The raccoon bit and scratched Borch, and she didn't know what to do. Then, she noticed her phone had been dropped in a puddle, and she had an idea.
Borch drug the raccoon on her knees to the puddle, and with her thumb in the raccoon's mouth, she "pushed its head down into the muck."
She held the raccoon underwater until it drowned. As soon as she could release her thumb, she bolted down the path three-quarters of a mile to her house.
Once she was home, her mother drove her to Pen Bay Medical Center immediately.
So far, she's received six shots including the rabies vaccine, immunoglobulin, and tetanus injections. She will be receiving her last injection soon. Rabies is fatal if not treated before symptoms arise. Animals start showing symptoms weeks after being infected with rabies. In humans, rabies symptoms could show a few weeks to a month after being infected. Once a human starts showing symptoms of rabies, there is no chance of survival. Rachel Borch will survive the virus.
"If there hadn't been water on the ground, I don't know what I would have done," she said about drowning the animal. "It really was just dumb luck. I've never killed an animal with my bare hands. I'm a vegetarian. It was self-defense."
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