CHESAPEAKE, Va. – A raccoon found in the 4200 block of Gold Crest Drive on May 6 tested positive for rabies, the Chesapeake Health Department announced.
Health officials say it confronted a dog, which is up to date on its vaccinations.
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 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.
Rabies is also fatal in infected domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.
The health director strongly encourages residents to take the following precautions to protect their families and their pets from the disease:
- 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, Animal Control at (757) 382-8080 or visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.