CHESAPEAKE, Va. – The Chesapeake Health Department recently received confirmation that a raccoon tested positive for rabies.
The raccoon was located between two homes in the 400 block of Woodards Ford Road in Chesapeake on February 24. The raccoon confronted two dogs but luckily, both dogs had been vaccinated.
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.
The disease is fatal in infected domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.
“An animal exposure is a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation and complete treatment is critical. 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.
The Health Director strongly emphasizes the following advice for Chesapeake 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, check for injuries and 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. 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.