September 15, 2020

Media Contact:

Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, robert.parker@vdh.virginia.gov

Jason Weakley, environmental health manager, Central Shenandoah Health District, 540-332-7830, ext. 348 


— People or animals who may have been exposed should seek medical evaluation —

(STAUNTON, Virginia) — On Friday, September 11 a raccoon collected from the Vinson Street area in the City of Staunton was submitted for rabies testing after a suspected encounter with a pet. The raccoon tested positive for rabies. The raccoon no longer poses a threat, but any human or animal that may have been exposed to the raccoon’s saliva would be considered a potential exposure and should receive medical evaluation.

If you have been bitten, scratched or licked by this raccoon or any mammal that may have been exposed to it, seek medical attention. Rabies is fatal to animals and humans once symptoms begin, but can be prevented in humans if they receive vaccine and medication soon after exposure.

If any wild animal bites or interacts with any domestic animal, notify the local health department and animal control, and have the domestic animal evaluated by a veterinarian.

This incident is a reminder that we all can help prevent the spread of rabies:

  • Never approach a wild animal, especially a raccoon, fox, skunk or bat, especially if the animal is behaving oddly or seen in the daylight. These animals are the main carriers of rabies in the eastern U.S.
  • Avoid stray cats and dogs, which may also carry rabies. Report any bites or scratches to your physician or the health department.
  • Vaccinate your dogs, cats and ferrets and keep their vaccinations up to date.
  • Do not feed wild animals or strays. Eliminate outdoor food sources.
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.

For questions, call the Central Shenandoah Health District at 540-332-7830. For more information online, visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/animal-contact-human-health/ and www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/DEE/Rabies.


#     #     #