Board of Health: 3rd raccoon identified as positive for rabies in Mahoning County

According to the Mahoning County District Board of Health, laboratory reports confirmed that a raccoon found in Struthers was positive for rabies. The variant (strain) type is pending confirmation. The raccoon was found in the vicinity of Omar Street.  This is the third positive raccoon in Mahoning County this season.

According to the District Board of Health, there is known direct human contact/exposure with this animal.

The District Board of Health is reminding residents to protect themselves from the ever-present threat of rabies by following these precautions:

• Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals and be cautious around stray cats and dogs.

• Teach children to leave wildlife alone and be sure that your child knows to tell you if an animal bites or scratches them.

• Have your pet cats, dogs, and ferrets vaccinated for rabies and keep their vaccinations current.

• Keep trash can lids secure. Open containers can attract wildlife.

• Feed pets indoors. Never leave food outdoors that can attract wildlife.

• Report any bite incidents to your local health department and call your doctor for medical advice.

“Do not touch, handle or play with wildlife. Although they may appear to be cute, friendly animals, wildlife should be considered dangerous” says Patt Sweeney Mahoning County health commissioner.  “To minimize attracting wildlife to your property, remember to keep all pet food inside or in closed containers.”

Rabies is a fatal viral zoonosis and a serious public health threat. All mammals, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats, are believed susceptible to the disease. Rabies is transmitted when the virus is introduced into bite wounds, open cuts in skin, or onto mucous membranes from saliva.

If you find a dead raccoon, skunk, or fox that is not decayed or involved in a pet or human exposure, contact your local health department for surveillance purposes:

• If found in the city of Youngstown, contact the Youngstown City Health District at 330-743–3333.

• If found in all other Mahoning County communities, contact the Mahoning County District Board of Health at 330-270-2855, menu selection number two.

© 2013 Metro Monthly. All rights reserved.

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