It’s not Just Rabies: Diseases Spread by Raccoons

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Raccoons, under the genus Procyon, are mammals characterized by the distinctive dark circles around their eyes and bushy ringed tails. They are given the moniker the “masked bandit” because of these characteristics, which is very apt because they usually come in conflict with humans when they rummage garbage cans and steal food.

Aside from stealing food, there are many other reasons why you should steer away from these masked creatures. People would usually associate wildlife animals like raccoons with rabies, but this is not the only disease that can be spread by these creatures.

Raccoons are known to carry not only viruses, but bacteria and parasites as well, which can be harmful to humans. The diseases that one can acquire from these creatures are called zoonotic diseases. Let us go through some of them in detail so you are armed with information especially if you come in contact with this wildlife:

  • Leptospirosis. This disease is caused by the bacterium, Leptospira, and can be found in urine of many wildlife animals, including raccoons. There are many symptoms for this disease and some of them would be fever, chills, skin rash and abdominal pain among many others. These symptoms would usually appear in 7-12 days after an incubation period. In some cases, especially with those who have weak immune system, this disease can develop into a more serious one and can affect the heart and the brain.
  • Baylisascaris procyonis. This disease is specific to raccoons and is sometimes called raccoon roundworm. Raccoon roundworm may infect the people inside your household and even your pets. Infection rate is very high at 70% in adult raccoons. Infection can happen when the infested egg (found in a raccoon’s fecal matter) is accidentally ingested. While reported infection has been low, this disease is extremely fatal, primarily affecting children who have accidentally ingested contaminated soil or feces.
  • Lyme disease. This disease is common especially when you have an encounter with animals that have ticks, like raccoons. Symptoms may vary and includes fever, headache and a general feeling of weakness. When left untreated, it can also cause severe headaches and heart palpitations.
  • Tularemia. You can be afflicted by this bacterial disease especially when you handle the dead remains of infected raccoons, especially when you have open wounds. Spread of the bacteria can cause conjunctivitis as well as swollen hands where the bacterium has come in contact with.

These diseases are just some examples of the many health hazards that raccoons can inflict on you and your family. When your home is infested with raccoons, act on it immediately because you may be endangering your household. Some of these diseases may be fatal especially if you have young children, so getting rid of these cunning masked bandits from your home should be on the top of your priority list.

Most people resort to DIY methods that just do not work especially when you do not possess the proper knowledge on how to handle these creatures. When you are confronted with this wildlife infestation, do not hesitate to call Waterloo wildlife control services like Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control. Not only are these Waterloo wildlife control professionals equipped with the proper safety equipment to handle these critters, they also employ proven methods of wildlife removal. With over two decades of effective and efficient Waterloo wildlife control, Skedaddle can drive these creatures out of your home and bring them back to the wild where they belong.

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