Rabid raccoon found in Windsor

Published 10:48 am Friday, January 26, 2018

A dead raccoon discovered in Windsor has tested positive for rabies. Jay Duell, the Virginia Department of Health’s environmental health manager for the Western Tidewater area, said that VDH officials tested the animal after a town resident called Isle of Wight County’s animal control office on Tuesday to report what sounded like animals fighting outside.

The incident occurred in the vicinity of Shiloh Drive. When VDH officials arrived on-scene, they discovered one recently killed raccoon and a second raccoon in the yard, and concluded that the two animals had been responsible for the noises the resident reported.

According to the World Health Organization, rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical symptoms. However, it is vaccine-preventable.

In up to 99 percent of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans. Yet, rabies can affect both domestic and wild animals. It is spread to people through bites or scratches, usually via saliva.

Duell said that rabies, while endemic to the Western Tidewater area, is not very common.

“From time to time, we get cases,” he said. “Some years we may test animals and we may have zero to one case or we may have as many as eight to 10 in a year.”

Now that the rabid raccoon has been removed from the premises, Duell said there is no danger posed to Windsor residents.

“Beware of any strange-acting animals,” he advised as a precaution.

He also advised that residents not leave food outside for pets that might attract wild animals.