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Raccoon tests positive for rabies in Chesapeake, health officials report

The raccoon was found on Dec. 16 at Oak Grove Park in Chesapeake.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Author's Note: The above video is on file from July 9, 2021.

The Virginia Department of Health said a raccoon found in Chesapeake tested positive for rabies.

Chesapeake health officials got the confirmation for the raccoon's deadly disease. It was found in Oak Grove Park on Dec. 16.

Dr. Nancy Welch, MD, Chesapeake's health director said, "An animal exposure is a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation is critical. A prompt assessment will lead to timely response which may include observation or testing of an animal, and when necessary, rabies vaccinations. Rabies is highly preventable if the vaccine is given early and as recommended. Unfortunately, without preventive treatment, by the time someone develops symptoms of rabies, there is no cure and the disease is fatal in almost 100% of cases."

VDH officials said rabies can kill almost any mammal or human that gets infected with it. The disease can be spread through a bite or saliva.

Dr. Welch said if your pet has come in contact with the rabid raccoon you should call the Chesapeake Animal Control at 757-382-8080. You should also seek medical attention for any animal bite.

Also, consider contacting your local veterinarian to get your pet vaccinated.

For more information on rabies, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.