A rabid raccoon was euthanized by police last Friday near Lea Court and S. Spring St. in the City of Falls Church. In a statement released today, City of Falls Church Police report the Fairfax County Health Department confirmed Wednesday, Oct. 9, that the animal put down on Oct. 4 was suffering from rabies.
Police say no human was exposed to the sick raccoon but warn that residents should be aware of the endemic threat of rabies to the area.
Citizens are advised:
- Note that rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus that can infect wildlife, especially raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats and domestic animals such as dogs and cats, especially feral cats. Birds and reptiles cannot contract rabies and are not a threat for that disease. Rabies is in the saliva of infected animals and can be spread through a bite, scratch or exposure to saliva and brain and central nervous tissue.
- Rabid animals may act normal during the early stages of the disease and sometimes it can be hard to detect, however animals that appear to be staggering, drooling or appear paralyzed are suspect. Wildlife that appear to be overly friendly or showing signs of distress should also be avoided.
- Be aware of the abundance of wildlife in our area and understand that the wildlife in our area coexist very well. Most of the wildlife population is healthy.
- Never feed stray animals or wildlife or leave pet food out on your property. Clean up excess bird food on the ground which draws in rats and other small mammals and birds. Do not attempt to rehabilitate wildlife. Do not foster wildlife in your yard or home.
- Vaccinate your dogs and cats and make sure their vaccinations are up to date.
- Never allow your pets (especially cats) to roam unattended.
- Seal up any openings in your house so that wildlife cannot enter.
Police ask the community to report suspicious wildlife and any animal bites or scratches to the Falls Church Police Department’s non-emergency line, 703-241-5053 (TTY 711).