Local experts share safety tips following multiple rabies cases in Southwest Virginia

ROANOKE, Va. – Rabies has hit the skunk population in the Roanoke Valley. With three cases confirmed, local professionals discuss how to protect yourself and your pets.

Tim Nininger, owner of Star City Pest Control and Wildlife Services, is on the job working to trap raccoons, skunks, groundhogs, bats, and other animals.

Nininger said he’s never come in contact with a rabid animal on the job, but he’s a professional, he’s vaccinated and ready if the time comes.

“We’re trained to,” Nininger said. “We’ve got really thick wildlife gloves that we wear anytime that there’s an animal that we’re dealing with.”

Nininger said he can take animals to be tested by the health department.

Christie Wills, Virginia Department of Health Communication Officer for Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, said this year two rabies cases have been found in Botetourt County and one in Salem.

“Rabies is endemic in our area,” Wills said. “Anytime a case is confirmed, it’s noteworthy and a good reminder for people to make sure that their pet vaccinations are up to date.”

Nininger said to steer clear if you see a nocturnal animal in your yard during the day.

“Just because it’s out during the day doesn’t mean that it’s got rabies,” Nininger said. “But, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

If you come in contact with what may be a rabid animal, you should report that to your local health department.

About the Author

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.

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