Warning issued after skunk found with rabies in Rochester Hills

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published April 19, 2018

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ROCHESTER HILLS — A skunk was recently discovered with a confirmed case of rabies in the city, said officials with the Oakland County Health Division.

The Health Division strongly urges residents to reduce rabies exposure by staying away from wild animals such as skunks, bats, raccoons and foxes, along with stray cats and dogs.

“Rabies is present in our communities and is most often found in bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes,” Leigh-Anne Stafford, Oakland County health officer, said in a statement. “People and their pets need to be careful and avoid encounters with unfamiliar animals.

“Our natural instinct is to befriend and pet an animal that seems friendly or help one that is injured,” Stafford said. “But as a rule, avoid stray and wild animals to protect yourself against rabies.”

The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and is spread through bites or scratches.

To protect pets from rabies, pets should be vaccinated regularly, Stafford said. Handling stray, wild or dead animals is a big mistake. Residents should call local animal control experts for help if an animal is acting strangely.

Strange animal behavior includes an animal having problems swallowing, exhibiting lots of drool or saliva, appearing tamer than you would expect, biting at everything, and/or having trouble moving or the animal is paralyzed.

Pets should be kept indoors, or in a fenced yard,  or should be supervised to limit their exposure to rabid wild animals, and a leash should be used when walking. Do not feed or put water for pets outside, Stafford said. Garbage should be securely covered to avoid attracting wild or stray animals.

If a wild animal is found behaving strangely, residents should call the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center at (248) 391-4102 for assistance. If someone is bitten by a wild animal or any animal unknown, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

To report an animal bite, call the Health Division at (248) 858-1286. For more information, visit oakgov.com/health.

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