SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- The province of New Brunswick is reporting a case of human contact with a baby raccoon that tested positive for rabies in Charlotte County.

It happened last weekend in the Tower Hill area which is about 17 kilometres northeast of St. Stephen.

"Two children had discovered a raccoon in a yard that was acting abnormally docile," said Dr. Steven Scott, a veterinary pathologist in Fredericton. "They handled the raccoon. The raccoon did not bite, scratch or lick the children but the children were treated appropriately."

After the incident, the young raccoon was captured and euthanized.

This marks the first confirmed case of raccoon-variant rabies in New Brunswick this year, according to the government website.

"What's interesting because it's the county that's closest to Maine, and Maine has a very different rabies management program than we do here," said Joe Nocera, a forestry and environmental management professor at the University of New Brunswick. "So, we generally don't have raccoon rabies available in the population at any given time but it can come in from the U.S."

For many years now, the province has been conducting an oral rabies vaccination program distributing baits both by air and hand to vaccinate raccoons and skunks.

That program will continue in the western and southern parts of the province this summer.

"The hand-baiting is scheduled to start next week and that will continue to about the middle of August, late August and the aerial rabies vaccine bait campaign will take place on the week of Aug. 10 through Aug. 16," said Dr. Scott.

Nocera says that program is essential for keeping rabies under control.

"Particularly where we have such a close neighbour in Maine where their vaccine keeps only a proportion of the population vaccinated, we run the risk of having it cross the border regularly," Nocera said from Fredericton. "So the pre-baiting program or the aerial drop program with the edible baits, that's probably our best line of defence."