Yes, raccoons with rabies can transmit the virus to humans. There is only a 3-day window for a raccoon to transmit the disease before they die. However, only one case of human death from raccoon rabies has ever been recorded.
Raccoons are some of the most common carriers of the rabies virus. They share the label of “primary rabies carrier” with animals like foxes, skunks, and bats. These animals are high-risk species that contract and transmit the rabies virus quickly.
The raccoon rabies virus can be treated before it matures in humans. The series of raccoon rabies shots include:
- A centralized accelerated treatment to prevent the virus from maturing.
- A vaccine series to prepare the body to fight raccoon rabies
The first shot contains a rabies immune globulin that is injected at the site of the animal bite or scratch. It races to fight the progress of the raccoon rabies so your vaccines can work to prevent further complications.
A series of 4 shots is administered over 14 days. Unlike the treatment shot, the vaccines are injected through the arm. The vaccine will clear out the remaining threat of rabies left after the initial treatment.
How Do Raccoons Get Rabies?
Animals get rabies the same way we can potentially get it. Rabies is most commonly transmitted when one carrier of the virus bites another animal. More generally, it is transmitted when infected saliva makes contact when the open wound of another animal.
How do I Know if a Raccoon is Rabid?
Rabid raccoons exhibit behaviors that are identifiable by humans. If you asking yourself, “Does this raccoon have rabies?” look for these characteristics:
- Unusual stagger
- Abnormal movements
- Wet fur
- Yelling or crying
- Lesions or injuries
Raccoons are largely nocturnal, but it is not unusual to see them during the day. A raccoon wandering, foraging, or feeding during the daylight hours is not a sure sign of rabies.
WHAT OTHER DISEASES DO RACCOONS CARRY?
These critters also tend to carry roundworm and leptospirosis. The key to these two diseases is prevention. They are both difficult to treat and have serious symptoms.
Do not touch wild animals and stay away from possibly infected soil or water.
A bacterial infection from raccoon urine can cause Leptospirosis.
It is a health issue that causes symptoms similar to many other diseases, including:
- Headaches & Muscle Aches
- Yellowing of Skin and Eyes
- Abdominal pain
Roundworm lives in the feces of raccoons. Baylisascaris is a roundworm particular to raccoons. It is a parasite that can cause damage to humans if it manages to infect sensitive areas such as the organs or eyes.
HOW DO I PREVENT RACCOON-RELATED DISEASES?
Beware of Attacks
Raccoons rarely try to attack anything that threatens them. They will also opt to not chase things that frighten them.
Avoid contact with raccoons during the day. Those that emerge while the sun is up are likely to be weak, hungry, and desperate. They are more inclined to protect their food or themselves during a time in which they feel uncomfortable. If a raccoon exhibits any of the signs of rabies, walk away. Should you find yourself stuck in a room with a raccoon, protect vulnerable people and property and find a way out.
Pregnant and mother raccoons become more protective by instinct. They sometimes lunge at animals or people that pose a threat to their young.
Identify Raccoon Latrines
Raccoons, like humans, deposit their waste in a central location. In rodent control, these areas are called raccoon latrines. They can be found in the wild near the base of trees or near solid objects like stumps or logs. In homes, you’ll find them in the attic or the garage. Also check patios and roofs for waste deposits.
Latrines are extremely dangerous to your health. Have a professional clean and protect a latrine if you find one. Pay attention to unusual noises, check the most common entrance points for pests in your home and order a full raccoon removal once you know where the raccoons are coming from.