Everyone has heard of the rabies virus. However, the infection remains unclear and very few people actually know what causes it, how it is transmitted and whether it can be treated.
As Quebec’s wild animals emerge from their hibernation period, we have decided to take matters into our own hands and provide you with essential information about the disease. More specifically, we will explore a variant of rabies, that of the raccoon. By the end of this article, you will know what raccoon rabies is and if it can be spread to humans.
What is raccoon rabies?
Rabies is a fatal and contagious disease caused by a virus. It can affect all mammals, including raccoons. Birds, reptiles and amphibians are not part of this order and therefore cannot catch rabies.
The rabies virus is found in the saliva, intracerebral fluid and neural tissue of an infected mammal. This virus can be transmitted by bite, scratch or when a wound or mucous membranes are exposed to saliva or other infectious materials. Once the virus is transmitted, it travels to the brain through the nerves. At this stage, the infected person develops irreversible symptoms that cannot be treated. Death therefore becomes inevitable.
How is this virus transmitted?
There is only one rabies virus in North America. It is found in the saliva, intracerebral fluid and nervous system tissues of the infected animal. This always results in encephalitis, which is a brain infection and the symptoms are the same. Only three variants of rabies are found in Quebec, including a strain specific to raccoons, but which also affects striped skunks. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to contact a raccoon extermination service if you see any of these animals near your home, especially if they are excited and aggressive.
What are the symptoms of raccoon rabies in humans?
As mammals, humans can get rabies. This usually occurs as a result of a bite or contact with the saliva of an infected animal. Every year, nearly 60,000 people die from it worldwide.
Fever, chills, fatigue, insomnia, headache, anxiety and irritability are the main symptoms associated with rabies and usually appear 6 to 12 weeks after a bite. Between 30 and 70% of patients experience pain, paresthesia or itching near the location of the bite. Weakness or tremor may also occur in the limb that has been bitten.
When symptoms appear, it’s a sign that the disease is progressing and death is imminent. If you have been in contact with the rabies virus, it is important to see a doctor immediately. Although these mammals pose a risk of transmitting the rabies virus, there are some effective ways to keep raccoons away from your home.
Protect yourself against raccoon rabies
Raccoon rabies is a deadly infection that affects all mammals. In Quebec, where we are surrounded by rich and abundant fauna and flora, it is vital to do everything possible to prevent the virus from spreading, since the death of the infected person is unfortunately still only the only way out.
Have you noticed raccoons near your home and are you concerned about the health of the people living there? Contact Elite Pest Control. Our exterminators will make it their duty to take charge of your problem and solve it.