Rabies in Raccoons
Table of Contents
Rabies is a contagious disease that has been over 4,000 years old. It is a fatal, incurable disease that always ends with death. It is primarily a disease that is characteristic of domestic and wildlife, which can transmit the cause of rabies through the bites, which is the Rhabdovirus virus from the genus Lyssavirus, which is always found in the nervous tissue and spontaneously infected animals. This disease is a global problem from which according to data from 2017, more than 59,000 people lose their annual lives. Bearing in mind that according to the plans of the World Health Organization, the number of people is much higher than that set by the monitoring, radical measures have been taken at the global level to reduce the disease to a minimum number of victims by 2030.
When it comes to distribution, rabies occurs worldwide, with the largest number of infected cases being recorded in Africa and Asia, while there are countries where rabies is never registered. The complexity of this disease is that there are many species of animals that can be a contaminated reservoir. The mode of transmission of the disease implies that the infected virus through saliva (through bites, scratches) infected animals come into contact with other animals or man. After bite, the average incubation period of the infected person lasts from 3-7 weeks, then there is a period of infectivity that is characteristic for certain symptoms. In most cases, the incubation period lasts from 10 days to 7 years. Death occurs by infecting the virus through blood to the nervous system, then infecting the central nervous system, eventually causing brain and death diseases.
Detecting Signs of Rabies Infection
In order to recognize the disease at the outset, symptoms should be monitored. In people infected with rabies, these symptoms are similar to any other virus, and they include the appearance of high temperature, fever, and general maladies, and then frequent insomnia, anxiety, depression, or sudden excitement, severe control of behavior, hallucinations occur, but also disorientation. What is a very characteristic indication of rabies is frequent and abundant salivation, but also a very characteristic fear of water (hydrophobia). If you notice these symptoms, surely death will occur in a very short time. However, if this disease is detected in time, there is a possibility of avoiding death. The protection process implies rapid disinfection of a single wound, followed by a vaccine immunization lasting 14 years. It means obtaining human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG) and a series of different vaccines obtained in 5 doses for 28 days.
Rabid Raccoons in The United States
It is very interesting that in the USA, with the help of professional raccoon removal technicians in Florida, it has been reported that there are two different variants of raccoon rabies, one that is characteristic of the Florida area and the other that is characteristic of Virginia. According to data from 2000, the only US state that did not report raccoon cases was Ohio. Bearing in mind that according to official data, the number of infected people is constantly growing, it is very important to improve the veterinary control of the diseases, but also the legal regulation. However, in order to get good results on this path, it is necessary that there are appropriate medical drugs and vaccines that would have the ability to kill the virus, without automatically committing the killing of animals.
Rabies Testing and Treatments
Today, medicine has not yet found the ideal solution on this issue. Most commonly, in practice, a diseased animal that has been bitten is euthanized and analyzed on Rhabdovirus. If unfortunately, it is established that the animal is infectious, it is necessary for a person to report to the healthcare institution immediately. The best way to determine the infectivity is through the standard diagnostic test for rabies and the direct fluorescent antibody test (FAT) or can also be diagnosed histopathologically through the identification of intracytoplasmic inclusions in large neurons called Negri bodies. When it comes to the infection of domestic animals, their euthanasia is recommended, however, if this is prevented for various reasons, it is necessary that the animal be quarantined for 6 months and isolated, and then receive a regular series of vaccines transcribed by the veterinarian. It is important to note that it is necessary to conduct a detailed observation of an animal suspected of being infected, from 7 to 10 days, and then, in relation to the recorded condition, to approach either euthanasia or isolation of the animal.
Signs Of Infection In Raccoons
In order to prevent the number of infected people and animals, it is necessary to actively work to develop people’s awareness of the effects that this disease has, but it is necessary to educate the population to know the most common signs that the infected raccoon should look like. The most common signs that the animal is infectious and dangerous are:
- Paralyzed hindquarters of raccoon and its difficult movement in circles
- Disorientation of raccoon in motion
- Confusion and maliciousness of raccoon
- Strange sounds
- Increased saliva and foam in the mouth
- Increased secretion of the tear glands
- Choking due to paralysis
- Unexpected occurrence of aggression or lethargy
If you notice some of these traits in a raccoon, you should not come into contact with it, because it can bring you a death threat. It is best if you see these symptoms, immediately call the local animal control unit or a local veterinarian. Also, if you come into contact with a raccoon, and you are not sure if it is infected, you should immediately go to the nearest health facility. It is very important to monitor the behavior of animals that are likely to come into contact with the infected raccoon. Any kind of suspicion can bring you huge consequences, so act wisely and protect yourself and your animals.