RADFORD, Va. – Radford officials say a raccoon tested positive for rabies, and they want to remind the community of a few preventative measures to take to stay safe.
Officials posted the alert on Tuesday, saying that a raccoon had tested positive for rabies, but no longer poses a threat to the public.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system.
The disease is mainly in the saliva and brain of rabid animals, and can be transmitted through a bite or getting infected saliva or brain tissue in a wound, in your eye, or in your mouth, health officials said.
As a reminder, officials gave the four following steps to keep your pets and families safe from rabies:
- Make sure your pets have an up-to-date rabies vaccination.
- Don’t leave your pets outside unattended. If you do, make sure they are in a secure, safe area.
- Report all rabies exposures to animals – usually bites and scratches – to your doctor and the local health department.
- Do not feed or encourage wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, or foxes to visit your premises.
If you think you’ve been exposed to rabies – if you’ve been bitten by an animal that you think is infected – VDH says to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, and if possible, capture the animal in a large box or can. If you’re not able to catch it, try to figure out what it is before it runs away, officials say.
VDH says to call animal control or police to pick the animal up, and to notify your doctor immediately.
Read more on rabies here.