July 1, 2022
Media Contact: Joseph Everett, (757) 514-4751
Testing of Raccoon Confirms Rabies on Nansemond Drive
SUFFOLK, Va. — The Suffolk Health Department received confirmation today that a raccoon tested positive for rabies. In this case, the raccoon was in the back yard of a home in the 2600 block of Nansemond Drive on June 28, 2022. An unprovoked attacked took place to an outdoor pet. The Suffolk Health Department has canvased the neighborhood and spoken with several residents in the area who claim to have seen raccoons and foxes. Please use caution and awareness when outdoors and call the Suffolk Animal Control at (757) 514-4785 if an attack occurs to a human or pet.
Exposure of humans to rabies occurs when the saliva of an infected animal enters the body through an open wound or mucous membrane, such as with an animal bite. “An animal exposure is a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation and complete treatment is critical. Rabies is highly preventable if vaccine is given early and as recommended. Unfortunately, without preventive treatment, by the time someone develops symptoms of rabies, there is no cure, and the disease is fatal in almost 100% of cases”, said Dr. Nancy Welch, MD, interim health director for the Suffolk Health Department. The disease is also fatal in infected domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.
The health director strongly emphasizes the following recommendations for Suffolk residents to take in protecting their families and their pets from rabies:
- If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, check for injuries and contact the Suffolk Animal Control at (757) 514-7855 or the Suffolk Health Department at (757) 514-4751.
- Seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite to ensure appropriate and timely evaluation and treatment. All animal exposures must be taken seriously.
- Do not approach wild or stray animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, cats and dogs.
- Ensure all pet dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations. Consult your veterinarian or the Suffolk Health Department if you have any questions about pet vaccinations.
- Confine your pets to your property.
- Securely seal garbage containers with lids.
- State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated against rabies. For more information on rabies contact the Suffolk Health Department at (757) 514-4751 or Suffolk Animal Control at (757) 514-7855 or log onto Virginia Department of Health’s website at http:///www.vdh.virginia.gov/Epidemiology/DEE/Rabies/ or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/default.htm
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