Raccoon found by Chesapeake residents tests positive for rabies

Posted at 3:15 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 15:15:15-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The Chesapeake Health Department said a raccoon has tested positive for rabies in the West Landing Estates neighborhood.

The raccoon was found on April 20 by two Chesapeake residents.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It kills almost any mammal or human that gets sick from it. The rabies virus is mainly in the saliva and brain of rabid animals. It can be transmitted through a bite or getting saliva or brain tissue in a wound, eyes, nose or mouth, health officials said.

Rabies is rare in currently vaccinated animals and is highly preventable in people. “An animal exposure is a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation is critical. A prompt assessment will lead to timely response which may include observation or testing of an animal, and when necessary, rabies vaccinations. Rabies is highly preventable if 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. To prevent rabies in dogs and cats, keep them up to date on their rabies vaccinations.

There was no more information provided on the raccoon that was found.

If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, check for injuries and contact the Chesapeake Animal Control at (757) 382-8080.

Seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite to ensure appropriate and timely evaluation and treatment. All animal exposures must be taken seriously.