Raccoons and Rabies: Read This!

Updated on January 7, 2022

Raccoons are well-known to be carriers of many different diseases that can bring illness, and possibly even death, to humans. In addition, these critters can create some serious property damage that can cost a lot of money to fix. Most importantly, however, is the fact that raccoons are often carriers of rabies, which is a very serious concern to people. Continue reading to learn more about raccoons and rabies, and how you can keep you, your family, and your pets safe from this threat.

What Are Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that is transmissible to humans through direct contact with an infected animal’s saliva or other bodily fluid. In most cases, humans are exposed to this virus if they are scratched or bitten by a diseased animal, or if they happen to come into contact with infected fluids. Essentially, the rabies virus attacks the nervous system of humans and animals it infects. This can happen slowly, or it can be more rapid, as each case varies. Without treatment, rabies can eventually affect a human’s brain and cause death after many nasty symptoms start to show.  Some of the most common symptoms experienced by humans infected with rabies are agitation, headache, fever, confusion, excess saliva, fear of water, hallucinations, and eventually paralysis. 

Can Rabies Be Treated?

If left untreated, rabies eventually kills most humans that have been infected with it. It is a slow process that few recover from. Luckily, there is a way to stave off the rabies infection before it establishes itself. If you have reason to believe you have been in contact with an animal infected with rabies, you can get a course of vaccines that prevent rabies from harming you. It is urgent to get medical attention immediately if you are bitten by an animal, as receiving the rabies shot is a vital step you should take. After receiving the first shot in a timely manner, you will be given four more shots over several days to help destroy the rabies virus from your body completely.

Do Raccoons Carry Rabies?

In general, the most common animals that carry rabies are raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes, and coyotes. Luckily, deaths caused by rabid raccoons are incredibly rare, as raccoons that have been infected by rabies usually die shortly after, and most people bitten by raccoons receive the rabies treatment that is very effective. With this being said, coming into contact with any raccoon, or any other wild animal for that matter, can be very hazardous to your health, not only because of rabies, but also the many other diseases carried by animals. 

Identifying a Rabid Raccoon

Observing a raccoon you encounter to see if it appears to be rabid can be very difficult. Unless the raccoon shows the more obvious symptoms of illness, it may act no different than a healthy raccoon. However, here are some of the symptoms you can be aware of that may indicate a rabid raccoon. Excessive saliva buildup and wet hair around the face of the raccoon could signify a problem. Additionally, trouble walking and confusion are good indicators of an illness as well. 

Other Diseases Raccoons Carry

While rabies are the most common raccoon disease people think of, these creatures carry many other nasty diseases as well. These diseases are generally spread in three different ways. The first, most direct method of transmission is the raccoon biting a human. Another more common transmission vector is through raccoon feces. Finally, raccoons can contaminate any area that they contact with their saliva, urine, and even fur. 

One of the most serious dangers of raccoon feces involves a disease called raccoon roundworm. This disease causes an infection called Baylisascaris. This disease is rare in humans, but it has the potential to be deadly. If a human comes into contact with raccoon feces containing this roundworm, the parasite can potentially make its way into the human’s brain or eyes, which is a serious cause for concern. The most disconcerting part of the raccoon roundworm is that there are no completely effective treatments.

Another serious illness spread by raccoons is leptospirosis. This is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans by contact with raccoon feces. If infected, a human will experience the start of a common cold, but eventually this disease can lead to liver and kidney failure. Luckily, leptospirosis can be treated by a course of antibiotics. 

Raccoon Removal

As can be seen, raccoons are not an animal that you want around your family and your pets. If you know they are around your property or in your home, it is important to get them away as soon as possible. When dealing with potentially diseased racoons, it is very smart to leave the removal process to professional wildlife removal companies, such as C&C Wildlife Control, as they have the skills and experience to keep you, your family, and your pets safe from the many diseases carried by raccoons.

If you decide you want to go the DIY removal route, it is important that you learn as much as you can about the removal process. Visit getridraccoons.com to learn about humane raccoon removal techniques. One of the more common issues encountered when trying to remove raccoons on your own is the issue of baby raccoons. In many cases, the raccoon that got into your home is a mother raccoon who had babies in your attic or other parts of your property. If you remove the mother only, the babies will starve to death. This is why it is generally advised to let professional wildlife removal services take care of your raccoon problem. 

Cleaning & Sanitation

Once raccoons are removed from your home, it is important to remember that all of the diseases they carried are strewn all over the area of your home they inhabited. Most diseases can live in raccoon feces for an alarming length of time. Wildlife removal companies use cleaning and sanitizing agents to rid your home of all traces of raccoon diseases. Once this is done, you and your family will be safe from rabies, raccoon roundworm, leptospirosis, and the countless other diseases raccoons carry!

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.