Ohio County Health Officials Report Raccoon From Woodsdale Area of Wheeling Tested Positive for Rabies

A wild raccoon in Wheeling tested positive for rabies, health authorities said Friday.

The raccoon was found in the Woodsdale/Edgwood area of Wheeling. The raccoon was collected Thursday and tested positive for rabies on Friday.

“This is the first laboratory confirmed animal rabies case in Ohio County for 2019,” said Howard Gamble, administrator of the Wheeling-Ohio County health department.

He said the health department is warning residents of Ohio County to be wary of animals acting strangely or aggressively. He also reminded residents to keep their pet’s vaccinations up to date.

The health department urges residents not to ground feed any animals, both domestic and wild animals, especially in residential areas. Residents also should control and secure residential garbage waste in and around homes and businesses.

For more information, call the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department at 304-234-3682 or visit its website at www.ohio countyhealth.com.

Rabies is a virus capable of infecting warm-blooded animals. Rabies mainly affects the brain. The disease is common in wildlife in North America, notably in bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes. There have not been any naturally occurring cases identified in birds, and it is extremely rare in rodents.

The disease is usually spread by the bite or scratch of an infected animal. The virus is transmitted through saliva. Rabies is a virus that if left untreated can be fatal.

Exposures occur through contact with wildlife or with domestic animals exposed to rabid wildlife. Therefore, avoid raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats and stray or unfamiliar dogs and cats. In addition, wild species, including wild or domestic crossbreeds should not be kept as pets.

COMMENTS