12th Case Of Rabies Confirmed In Skunk In Oakland County

The skunk was found in West Bloomfield.

WWJ News
December 30, 2019 - 7:28 pm

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (WWJ) -- Health officials have confirmed another case of rabies in a skunk in Oakland County.

The Oakland County Health Division says a skunk that was removed from West Bloomfield -- north of West 14 Mile Road, south of West Maple Road between Orchard Lake and Middlebelt Roads -- has the disease.

It was the 12th confirmed case of rabies in skunks in Oakland County in 2019. Cases were also verified in four bats and one cat. The latest case is the first one to be reported since October.

"The best protection is to avoid contact with stray, wild, and dead animals. Rabies is a fatal disease for both humans and pets and there is no known cure," Dr. Rich Faust, Medical Director for Oakland County, said in a statement. "Help keep pets protected by getting them vaccinated and avoiding encounters with unfamiliar animals."

Health officials say due to unusually warm temperatures in December, there could be increased activity of wild animals and residents are urged to stay away from animals such as skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, and stray cats and dogs. 

If you or your household pet are exposed to any wild animal or an animal unknown to you, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water. Then seek medical or veterinary attention immediately, even if your animal was previously vaccinated. The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and is spread through bites or scratches. The disease is not spread through a skunk’s spray. 

A detailed map released back in October shows five skunks with Rabies were found in Southfield. This latest case is the second to be found in West Bloomfield.

Officials offered several tips to help protect the community from Rabies: 

  • Have pets vaccinated regularly.
  • Do not handle stray, wild, or dead animals.
  • Keep pets indoors, supervise when outside, and always use a leash when walking to limit their exposure to wild animals that may be rabid.
  • Do not leave food or water outside for pets when unattended.
  • Keep garbage securely covered, as these items may attract wild or stray animals.

More information about rabies can be found on the Health Division’s website at www.oakgov.com/health.