Chesapeake, Va. – A rabid raccoon was involved in an altercation with several dogs in the Pleasant Grove section of Chesapeake, according to the Chesapeake Health Department. The incident occurred on New Zealand Ranch Rd. on Oct. 20.
The dogs are up-to-date on their vaccination for rabies, have received a booster vaccination and currently being quarantined.
The health department is concerned that the raccoon may have attacked others or their pets.
Please do not approach wild or stray animals and if possible be aware of your pets and potential exposure to wildlife. Exposure of humans to rabies occurs when the saliva of an infected animal enters the body through an open wound or mucous membrane, such as with an animal bite.
“An animal exposure is a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation and complete treatment is critical. Rabies is highly preventable if the vaccine is given early and as recommended. Unfortunately, without preventive treatment, by the time someone develops symptoms of rabies, there is no cure and the disease is fatal in almost 100% of cases,” said Dr. Nancy Welch, MD, health director for the Chesapeake Health Department.
The disease is also fatal in infected domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.
The Health Director strongly emphasizes the following recommendations for Chesapeake residents to take in protecting their families and their pets from rabies:
- If you or your pets have been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact the Chesapeake Animal Control at (757) 382-8080 or the Chesapeake Health Department at (757) 382-8672.
- Seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite to ensure appropriate and timely evaluation and treatment. All animal exposures must be taken seriously.
- Do not approach wild or stray animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, cats and dogs.
- Ensure all pet dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations. Please consult your veterinarian or the Chesapeake Health Department if you have any questions about pet vaccinations.
- Confine your pets to your property.
- Securely seal garbage containers with lids.
- State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated against rabies.
For more information on rabies contact the Chesapeake Health Department at (757) 382–8672 or Animal Control at (757) 382-8080 or log onto Virginia Department of Health’s website at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/Epidemiology/DEE/Rabies/ or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies