Raccoon found on Nansemond Drive has rabies

Published 5:21 pm Friday, July 1, 2022

A raccoon found in the backyard of a Nansemond Drive home this week has tested positive for rabies, according to the Suffolk Health Department. 

The raccoon was found June 28 in the backyard of a home in the 2600 block of Nansemond Drive, and unprovoked, attacked an outdoor pet. 

The health department canvassed the neighborhood and spoke with several residents in the area who reported having seen raccoons and foxes. 

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The health department asks that if an attack happens to a person or a pet to call Suffolk Animal Control at 757-514-4785, and to use caution and awareness when outdoors. 

Exposure of humans to rabies takes place 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,” said Dr. Nancy Welch, interim health director for the Suffolk Health Department. 

The disease is also fatal in infected domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated. 

Welch strongly recommends the following recommendations for city residents to take in protecting their families and pets from rabies:

  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, check for injuries and contact Suffolk Animal Control at 757-514-7855 or the Suffolk Health Department at 757-514-4751. 
  • 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 Suffolk 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 Suffolk Health Department at 757-514-4751 or Suffolk Animal Control at 757-514-7855 or log onto Virginia Department of Health’s website at http:///www.vdh.virginia.gov/Epidemiology/DEE/Rabies/ or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/default.htm.