In the past three weeks, multiple reports of raccoons and a skunk exhibiting signs of rabies infection have been reported in Parkesburg Borough. The police remind all residents to stay away from ALL wild animals.
Please read the information below, offered by the PA Department of Agriculture's, Dr. Aliza Simeone, and contact 9-1-1 if you observe a raccoon appearing sick during daylight hours.
This is just a reminder of the risk of rabies from wild animals and free-roaming cats. As always, contact with these animals should be avoided.
Please be aware of some of the clinical signs of Rabies Virus. Rabies has two major forms:
- “Furious”: symptoms may include: abnormal aggression, loss of fear, daytime activity by nocturnal species, attraction to noise and human activity, difficulty swallowing, drooling, restlessness, biting at anything and everything (including inanimate objects).
- “Dumb”: symptoms may include: loss of fear, appearing “tame”, drooling, decreased activity, incoordination (trouble walking, look “drunk” or hurt), paralysis, coma, or sudden death.
Not all rabid animals show all of these symptoms. Symptoms of rabies are not always obvious. Rabies can appear in ANY mammal but most commonly in PA we see rabies in raccoons, cats, bats, skunks, foxes, and groundhogs. ANY bite from an animal should be reported to your doctor.
Pennsylvania law requires that all dogs and those cats that go into homes must be rabies vaccinated by the time they are 16 weeks of age, and that booster vaccinations are administered periodically according to the vaccine label instructions to maintain lifelong immunity. Rabies vaccine is also available for livestock and should be administered yearly by a veterinarian. Other animals may also be vaccinated for rabies in Pennsylvania. As there are incidence of rabies in the area, it is essential that all pets be kept up to date for their rabies vaccinations to reduce the risk of them developing the disease and infecting other animals or people.
If you have concerns about human exposure to rabies, you need to contact your physician or the Chester County Health Department, Division of Communicable Diseases at 610-344-6452.
If you have concerns about a pet animal or livestock being exposed to rabies or about rabies regulations, please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-443-1199 or by email (see below). You can also find more information about rabies at www.agriculture.pa.gov.
Dr. Aliza Simeone
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture