Skunk found in Suffolk tests positive for rabies

Posted at 3:06 PM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 15:08:39-04

SUFFOLK, Va. – A skunk tested positive for rabies on Tuesday, according to the Suffolk Health Department.

A dog that was not vaccinated did ‘make contact’ with the skunk. Since the dog was not vaccinated, officials say it must be euthanized or be placed in strict isolation for a period of four months to insure it does not show signs of rabies.

This incident occurred in the Quaker Drive area of Suffolk.

Rabies is highly preventable if a 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 all of the cases.

Dr. Nancy Welch, MD, health director for the Western Tidewater Health District, emphasizes the following for Suffolk residents to take in protecting their families and their pets from rabies:

  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact Suffolk Animal Control at (757) 514-7855 or the Suffolk Health Department at (757)-514-4751
  • 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, Suffolk Animal Control, or the Suffolk 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 receive the rabies vaccination. For more information on rabies, contact the Suffolk Health Department at (757) 514-4751, Suffolk Animal Control at (757) 514-7855, or visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.