DANVILLE, Va. – The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District is issuing a warning after officials said a skunk tested positive for rabies in the Burnham Woods community of Danville.
Rabies, a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system, is preventable in domestic animals through vaccinations but is fatal to both animals and humans if left untreated.
As a reminder, Virginia law requires that all dogs and cats four months of age and older be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian and that vaccinations be kept current.
VDH provided the following tips to protect against rabies exposure:
- Do not feed stray animals. Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks. Feed your pets indoors and do not let them wander.
- Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies and their shots are up to date. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.
- Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.
- Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals.
- Keep wild animals out of homes by capping chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, cellars and porches. Ensure trash cans have tight-fitting lids.
- If you observe any stray animals in the area, contact the Danville Animal Control for assistance at 434-799-5111. Please do not try to trap or handle stray and wild animals.
- If you are bitten by a wild or stray animal, do not panic. Wash the wound(s) thoroughly with warm soapy water and contact animal control, your doctor or the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District for further recommendations.
The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District asks anyone who may have come into contact with the skunk to call the health district at 434-433-3545.