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Baby raccoon tests positive for rabies in Portsmouth

The raccoon was found September 10 at a home in Portsmouth's Long Point neighborhood. The animal tested positive for rabies on September 14.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Editor's Note: The above video originally aired July 9, 2021.

Health officials are alerting residents of a Portsmouth neighborhood that a raccoon in the area recently tested positive for the rabies virus.

The Portsmouth Health Department said it was alerted on Sept. 10 about three baby raccoons that were taken from a residence on Long Point Boulevard by a wildlife rehabilitator. The animal rehabilitator said the raccoons had gotten injured in a fight with an unknown animal.  One of the raccoons died and the other two were humanely euthanized.

On Sept. 14, test results came back showing one of the raccoons had rabies.

The person exposed to the animals is being treated.

Rabies is a deadly disease, but is preventable if treatment starts early, health officials said.

The Health Department offers the following tips to help prevent people and their pets from being exposed to rabies:

ELIMINATE OUTDOOR FOOD SOURCES AROUND THE HOME

  • Do not feed stray dogs or cats, or any wild animal.
  • Garbage containers should be securely sealed with lids.
  • After feeding pets, bring leftover food inside or dispose of it properly.
  • Bird food should be placed in a bird feeder inaccessible to wild animals.
  • Food stored in outbuildings (barns, open garages) should be inaccessible to animals.

AVOID CONTACT BETWEEN YOURSELF (OR YOUR PETS) AND WILD ANIMALS OR STRAY DOGS AND CATS

  • Report any stray animals to the Portsmouth Bureau of Animal Control at 393-8430 and avoid contact with this animal. If contact occurs between any wild animal and you or your pet, contact the Portsmouth Department of Public Health at 393-8585 ext. 8585. 
  • It is imperative that you receive medical treatment as soon as possible. Call your veterinarian to examine your pet for wounds and administer a booster rabies shot.
  • Keep dogs and cats confined to your property. Animals that are allowed to roam are more prone to come into contact with wild animals such as foxes and raccoons.

VACCINATE ALL PETS AGAINST RABIES, IT’S THE LAW!

  • Code of the City of Portsmouth, Chapter 4 Animals, Article 4 Rabies Control- Section 4-96. Vaccination of Dogs or Cats.