Two rabid raccoons found in Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Two rabid raccoons were located in Portsmouth, according to the Portsmouth Department of Health.

On August 6, animal control was called to a home in the Churchland area of the city. Callers told animal control officers that a dog got into a fight with a raccoon and killed the raccoon.

Three days later on August 9, the Portsmouth Department of Public Health found out that the raccoon tested positive for rabies.

The dog was being managed by the Portsmouth Department of Public Health but is now home with his family.

"Luckily, the homeowners had the dog vaccinated so there's no concern for the dog at this time," said Jessica Mullen, spokesperson for the Portsmouth Health Department.

On Wednesday three members of the Environmental Health Team from the Health Department went out into the communities where the raccoons tested positive for rabies to hand out flyers.

Elanzer Boone got a flyer and said, "I think they're doing a great job notifying the public." She was especially concerned about her 10 year-old pit-bull and said she is going to take precautions.

No humans have been identified as exposed.

On August 5, animal control responded to a raccoon that was reportedly acting lethargic on California Avenue. On August 9, the Department of Public Health received results that showed the raccoon tested positive for rabies.

"Contact  our great partners at animal control if they see anything that's unusual," said Mullen, "Vaccinate your animals."

The Department of Public Health would like to remind all citizens to follow these four important rabies prevention guidelines:

  • Vaccinate your pets.
  • Do not approach wild or stray animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, cats and dogs.
  • If your pet has been in contact with a wild animal or bitten by any animal, contact the Portsmouth Health Department at 757-393-8585 ext. 8585 or Portsmouth Bureau of Animal Control at 757-393-8430.
  • Seek medical treatment quickly for any animal bite to guarantee proper evaluation and treatment.
  • Parents must encourage their children not to play with stray animals.
  • Educate children to not approach or pet any unknown animal without the permission of the owner and the supervision of an adult.
  • Keep your pets on your property.
  • Report all exposures to animals (usually bites and scratches) to your doctor and the local health department.
  • Enjoy wildlife from a distance – don’t feed or encourage wild animals such as raccoons, skunks or foxes to visit your premises.
  • Do not feed your pets outside, leave trash uncovered, or do anything that may attract wild animals to your property.