Rabid skunk reported in West Bloomfield

By: Kayla Dimick | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published October 25, 2019

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OAKLAND COUNTY — Local health officials have announced another case of rabies in a skunk, this time in West Bloomfield.

The Oakland County Health Division announced Oct. 23 that the disease was found in a dead skunk removed from the area of West 14 Mile Road, south of Maple Road, between Drake and Farmington roads.

Earlier this month and in September, multiple dead skunks with the disease were removed from Southfield and Troy.

In a news release, Oakland County Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford said rabies has been verified in four bats and 11 skunks in Oakland County.

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

“Rabies is a fatal disease, and there is no known cure,” Stafford said in the release. “The best protection is to avoid contact with stray, wild and dead 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 and will prevent them from becoming ill and infecting humans.

• Keep pets indoors or supervise them when outside, and always use a leash when walking to limit their exposure to wild animals that may be rabid.

• Do not leave food or water unattended outside for pets.

• Keep garbage securely covered, as it may attract wild or stray animals.

• Do not handle stray, wild or dead animals.

• Call local animal control experts for help if an animal is acting strangely, including having problems swallowing, exhibiting lots of drool or saliva, appearing tamer than expected, biting at everything, and having trouble moving.

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 a 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.