Raccoon found in Isle of Wight County tests positive for rabies

Posted at 5:48 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 05:08:13-04

ISLE OF WIGHT Co., Va. - A raccoon found in the Days Point Road area of Isle of Wight has tested positive for rabies, the Isle of Wight Health Department announced Tuesday.

Health officials say the raccoon may have been in contact with two dogs, which have been vaccinated against rabies. The dogs received a booster shot and will be under a 45-day observation period.

It is unknown when the raccoon was found.

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 can be a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation and complete treatment is critical.

Health officials say rabies is highly preventable if vaccine is given early and as recommended. 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.

The disease is also fatal in infected domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.

Dr. Nancy Welch, MD, acting health director for the Western Tidewater Health District, strongly encourages residents to do the following in order to protect their families and their pets from rabies:

  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact Isle of Wight Animal Control at (757) 365-6318 or the Isle of Wight Health Department at (757) 279-3078.
  • 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, Isle of Wight Animal Control, or the Isle of Wight 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 the disease, contact the Isle of Wight Health Department at (757) 279-3078, Isle of Wight Animal Control at (757) 365-6318, or visit the Virginia Department of Health's website orthe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
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