While all animal bites are potentially dangerous and should be given prompt attention, individuals that get bitten by a raccoon must of necessity receive immediate medical care. This is so, even if the bite is small and appears not infected. This is because the raccoon is well known to be a primary carrier of rabies, a potentially deadly infection. Other animals that carry rabies are bats, foxes, skunks, and coyotes.
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a zoonotic viral disease that can be transmitted from animal to animal and from animal to human via the infected animal’s saliva. Thus, humans can get infected by the virus if:
- They are bitten by a rabid animal
- An open wound or cracked skin gets licked by a rabid animal
- They have been scratched by claws covered with saliva from a rabid animal.
Rabies cannot be transmitted through urine or blood, or via petting a rabid animal. Once the virus gets into the human body, it would attach itself to nerve cells and gradually destroy the nervous system. If the situation is not medically arrested, the rabies goes on to attack the brain, finally killing its victim.
Death from rabies is on the high, compared to the survival rate. Nonetheless, it is a treatable disease and the fatalities can be averted with quick and appropriate medical interventions. See a physician immediately!
The symptoms observed in infected people include itching at the wound site, headache, fatigue, fever, disorientation and hallucination, insomnia, agitation, and hypersensitivity to light. Are All Raccoons in North America Infected With Rabies?
Prevention is Key
Whatever you do, avoid confrontations with any raccoon discovered on your property, do not attempt to tackle them or physically chase them. A cornered raccoon may defend itself by attacking humans or pets. Female raccoons with young are especially aggressive as they will protect their babies against any threat.
Of particular danger, are raccoons that display off behaviour, like being active during the day. While being active in daylight does not conclusively mean that a raccoon is rabid, you must look out for any of these signs:
- Repeated high-pitch noises
- Uncoordinated movement
- Discharge from mouth or eyes
- Matted body hair
- Unnatural boldness/ not shying away from humans
If you suspect there is a rabid raccoon on your property, do not attempt to remove it by yourself, but immediately call your local wildlife control. Do Daytime-Active Raccoons Have Rabies?
The most effective way to bar raccoons from your property is to install high fences. You may also invite professional wildlife handlers to inspect and proof your house against raccoons.
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