More Skunks In Oakland County Test Positive For Rabies

WWJ News
October 09, 2019 - 11:29 am
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SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) - Health officials say two more rabies cases have been confirmed in skunks removed from Oakland County. 

The Oakland County Health Division said Wednesday that the skunks were found in Southfield and Farmington Hills.

So far this year, rabies has been verified in four bats and eight skunks in Oakland County. Officials say they are particularly interested in three dead skunks removed in Southfield within a mile radius of one another. Other cases have been confirmed in Rochester Hills and Troy.

Bats and skunks are the most common carriers of rabies in Michigan. Residents are urged to avoid wild animals such as skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, and stray cats and dogs to protect against rabies.

If a wild animal is found behaving strangely, call local animal control for assistance. If you or your household pet is bitten by any wild animal or an animal unknown to you, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical or veterinary attention immediately. 

If a human has been bitten or scratched by a rabid animal, disease prevention includes rabies vaccines which are effective. The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and is spread through bites or scratches. Rabies is not spread through a skunk’s spray.

Follow these simple steps to protect against rabies:
•    Have pets vaccinated regularly. This will protect them if exposed to animals with the disease and prevent them from becoming ill and infecting humans.
•    Do not handle stray, wild, or dead animals.
•    Keep pets indoors or supervised to limit their exposure to wild animals that may be rabid.
•    Use a leash when walking dogs or keep them in a fenced-in yard. Do not leave food or water outside for pets when unattended.
•    Call local animal control experts for help if an animal is acting strangely, including: having problems swallowing, exhibiting lots of drool or saliva, appearing tamer than you would expect, biting at everything, having trouble moving or is paralyzed.
•    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 oakgov.com/health. To report an animal bite, call the Health Division at 248-858-1286.