Raccoon Strain Rabies
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What is Raccoon Strain Rabies?
- Outbreaks have occurred in northeast Ohio.
- Raccoon populations are up 800% in the last 15 years due to urban growth and reduction in fur harvest.
- Ducks, small birds, and small mammal numbers are inversely proportional to the raccoon numbers.
What is done to understand and prevent Raccoon Strain Rabies?
- An oral vaccination program includes distribution by air and land of inoculants in fish meal bait within an exclusion zone in northeastern Ohio.
- Testing of potentially suspect raccoons is conducted year-round by the Ohio Department of Health in cooperation with local health departments.
To protect yourself and your family, please take the following precautions:
- Do not put out feed that is attractive to mammals.
- Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals as pets, and be cautious of stray dogs or cats.
- Instruct children to leave wild animals alone. Be sure your child knows to tell you if they were bitten or scratched by an animal.
- Never leave your pets outdoors unattended, and vaccinate them against rabies.
- Tightly cap trash cans, and remove pet food that is not immediately consumed by your pet.
What to do if bitten:
- Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and water.
- Confine the animal where no one else can come in contact with it. Take care to prevent additional bites. If assistance is needed to capture a wild animal, contact a professional nuisance animal control company.
- If the suspect animal must be killed, do not damage the head as rabies testing is done on the brain.
- Do not delay seeking medical advice. Go to your family doctor or emergency room.
- Call your county or city health department for advice, and information on testing the animal for rabies exposure.
- When dealing with a dead animal, wear gloves or use a shovel if you need to move the animal. Follow the advice of the health department for handling the dead animal. Do not freeze it. Clean the area and tools with bleach and water.
Keep your pets vaccinated!
See also Rabies in Ohio Wildlife publication 136.
For more information call: 1-888-RABIES-1
Visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) rabies Web page.