The Oakland County Health Division said it had two newly confirmed rabies cases in skunks removed from Southfield and Troy in a release Friday.
Last week, the Health Division reported a confirmed case of rabies in a dead skunk also found in Southfield. Residents are urged to avoid wild animals such as skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, and stray cats and dogs to protect against rabies.
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"Rabies is present in our communities,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “Avoid contact with all wild animals and get your pets vaccinated.”
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 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. In 2019, rabies has been confirmed in four bats and six skunks in Oakland County. The warmer weather months create opportunities for outdoor activities in Michigan and increases the chance of wildlife encounters with humans or pets.
More information about rabies can be found on the Health Division’s website at oakgov.com/health or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Nurse on Call is available 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.