NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- The Peninsula Health District is warning the public of a raccoon that has tested positive for rabies, Wednesday.

Residents in the area of Peters Ln. may have had contact with this animal.

If you have recently encountered a raccoon, that you believe may be the same animal, and were exposed to the illness through saliva in an open wound, eyes, nose, or mouth, you should contact the Health Department.

Rabies is a fatal, but preventable disease. It is carried by mammals and has existed in the wild animals on the Peninsula since the mid 1980's.

If you need to contact the Peninsula Health District, please call (757) 594-7340. If you are calling after hours, please your local Animal Control:

  • Newport News/Poquoson Animal Control - (757) 595-7387
  • York County Animal Control - (757) 890-3601
  • James City Co./Williamsburg - (757) 253-1800

You may also be exposed to the disease through direct contact with your pet. The best way to avoid rabies is to vaccinate your pets, report all exposures to animals to your doctor and the local health department, and to make sure to enjoy wildlife from a safe distance.