What is Raccoon Strain Rabies?

  • It is a viral infection that affects the nervous system of mammals including humans. 
  • Rabies outbreaks have occurred in northeast Ohio.
  • Raccoon populations have grown 800% over the last 15 years due to urban growth and reduction in fur trapping

What is done to understand and prevent Raccoon Strain Rabies?

  • The Ohio Department of Health and local health departments test raccoons all year long to identify the prevalence of Raccoon Strain Rabies.
  • During rabies outbreaks in northeastern Ohio, an oral vaccine was disbursed to inoculate raccoons in and around the outbreaks regions to prevent the spread of Raccoon Strain Rabies to other areas.
  • Please visit this link for more information about Ohio’s Prevention Program.

How can you protect yourself and your family? 

  • Do not put out feed that is attractive to mammals.
  • Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals as pets and be cautious of stray dogs and cats.
  • Instruct children to leave wild animals alone.  Be sure your child knows to tell you if they were bitten or scratched by an animal.
  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies and do not leave them unattended outdoors.
  • Tightly cap trash cans and remove pet food that is not immediately consumed by your pet.

What to do, if you are bitten?

  • Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and water.
  • Confine the animal where no one else can come in contact with it.  Take measures to prevent additional bites.  Contact a licensed nuisance animal control company to safely and effectively remove the animal.
  • If the animal must be killed, do not damage the head as rabies testing is done on the brain.
  • Seek medical advice immediately from your primary care physician or the emergency department.
  • When dealing with a dead animal, wear gloves or use a shovel if you need to move the animal.  Follow the advice of the health department for handling the dead animal. Do not freeze it.  Clean the area and tools with bleach and water. 
  • Contact your county or city health department for advice and more information on testing an animal for rabies exposure.  

Source: Visit Columbus Public Health for more information.