Pontiac, MI - Oakland County Health Division recently received confirmation of two new rabies cases in skunks removed from Southfield and Farmington Hills.
In 2019, rabies has been verified in four bats and eight skunks in Oakland County. Residents are urged to avoid wild animals such as skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, and stray cats and dogs to protect against rabies.
“We continue to work with partnering agencies to investigate the recent increase of animal rabies cases in Oakland County,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “We are particularly interested in three dead skunks removed in Southfield within a mile radius of each other.”
If a wild animal is found behaving strangely, call local animal control for assistance. If you or your household pet is bitten by any wild animal or an animal unknown to you, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical or veterinary attention immediately. To report an animal bite, call your local law enforcement agency then notify the Health Division at 248-858-1286.
If a human has been bitten or scratched by a rabid animal, disease prevention includes rabies vaccines which are effective. The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and is spread through bites or scratches. Rabies is not spread through a skunk’s spray. Follow these simple steps to protect against rabies:
- Have pets vaccinated regularly. This will protect them if exposed to animals with the disease and prevent them from becoming ill and infecting humans.
- Do not handle stray, wild, or dead animals.
- Keep pets indoors or supervised to limit their exposure to wild animals that may be rabid.
- Use a leash when walking dogs or keep them in a fenced-in yard.
- Do not leave food or water outside for pets when unattended.
- 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 you would expect
- Biting at everything
- Having trouble moving or is paralyzed
- Keep garbage securely covered, as these items may attract wild or stray animals.
Bats and skunks are the most common carriers of rabies in Michigan. The warmer weather months create opportunities for outdoor activities in Michigan and increases the chance of wildlife encounters with humans or pets.