Raccoon tests positive for rabies

Published 5:20 pm Saturday, May 7, 2016

A raccoon that fought with a dog recently in the Nansemond Gardens area of Suffolk has tested positive for rabies.

The dog was not vaccinated, so it must be euthanized or placed in 180-day isolation.

“An animal exposure is a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation and complete treatment is critical,” Dr. Nancy Welch, health director for the Western Tidewater Health District, stated in the release.

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“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 percent of cases.”

Welch offered the following recommendations for people to take to protect their pets and families from rabies:

  • 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. State law requires all dogs and cats over four months old to be vaccinated.
  • Confine your pets to your property.
  • Securely seal garbage containers with lids.
  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact the Suffolk Animal Control at 514-7855 or the Suffolk Health Department at 514-4751.