(photo: dreamstime)

Skunk Tests Positive For Rabies In Oakland County

March 16, 2019 - 12:14 pm

ROCHESTER HILLS (WWJ) - Officials are warning residents in Oakland County after a skunk has been confirmed to have rabies.

The county health department says the skunk was recently removed from Rochester Hills. No further information about the animal and its discovery was provided. 

Officials are urges residents to reduce their exposure to rabies by staying away from wild animals such as skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, stray cats and dogs.

"Our instinct is to befriend and pet an animal that seems friendly or help one that is injured," Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County, said in a statement. "But as a rule, avoid stray and wild animals to protect yourself against rabies."

If a wild animal is found behaving strangely -- including having problems swallowing, exhibiting lots of drool or saliva, appearing tamer than you would expect, biting at everything, and having trouble moving or is paralyzed -- call the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center at 248-858-1070 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. To report an animal bite, call the Health Division at 248-858-1286.

The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and is spread through bites or scratches. Simple steps everyone can take to protect themselves from rabies include:

•    Have pets vaccinated regularly. This will protect them if exposed to animals with the disease and prevent them from becoming a carrier 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 feed or put water for pets outside.
•    Keep garbage securely covered, as these items may attract wild or stray animals.