Rabid skunk reported in Southfield

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published September 20, 2019

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Local health officials have announced a confirmed case of rabies in a skunk in Southfield. 

According to a Sept. 19 news release from the Oakland County Health Division, a dead skunk was removed from 10 Mile Road, north of Lincoln Road, between Southfield and Greenfield roads, and it tested positive for rabies. 

Multiple dead skunks were recently found in the area, according to the release, but they were not tested for rabies. 

Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford said in the release that the rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals, and it is spread through bites and scratches. 

Rabies is not, however, spread through a skunk’s spray, she said. 

Residents are urged to stay away from wild animals such as skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, and stray cats and dogs, the release said. 

"Avoid stray, wild and dead animals to protect yourself against rabies,” Stafford said in the release. “Rabies is present in our communities. People and their pets need to be careful and avoid encounters with unfamiliar animals.”

There are a few ways in which residents can protect themselves and their pets from rabies, Stafford said: 

• Have pets vaccinated regularly. This will protect them if they are exposed to animals with the disease will and prevent them from becoming ill and infecting humans.

• Do not handle stray, wild or dead animals.

• Call local animal control experts for help if an animal is acting strangely, including:

o Having problems swallowing.

o Exhibiting lots of drool or saliva.

o Appearing tamer than expected.

o Biting at everything.

o Having trouble moving or is paralyzed.

If other dead wild animals are found within the specific area, residents are asked to call the Oakland County Health Division at (248) 858-1286. 

Stafford said in the release that people who encounter a wild animal behaving strangely should call a local animal shelter for assistance. 

Any person or household pet bitten by any wild animal or an animal unknown to them should wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical or veterinary attention immediately, Stafford said in the release. 

To report an animal bite, call the Health Division at (248) 858-1286.

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