And Which Ones Can Affect Me?
Raccoons are a common pest, endemic to just about every American state. They thrive especially well in cities and suburbs where they have easy access to food from trash cans and dumpsters.
While they may seem cute and harmless, they can carry quite a few diseases that can affect you, your pets, and your family. Exposure can happen if a raccoon contaminates your water supply or food with waste, or you are bitten or scratched by a raccoon.
In this article, we’ll take a look at which diseases raccoons carry, and which ones can be dangerous. Let’s get started.
Raccoons are one of the most common species to carry rabies. The virus is primarily spread through the saliva, and anyone scratched or bitten by a rabid animal is at risk.
Transmission is rare, but rabies is extremely dangerous, and without immediate medical care or a preventative vaccine, it is almost always lethal. If you are bitten or scratched by a raccoon, you must immediately get tested for rabies.
- Baylisascaris Procyonis
This is a parasite that lives in the intestines of raccoons, so exposure to feces and waste is usually the primary disease vector. If transmitted to humans, it can result in an infection called Visceral Larval Migrans in 2-4 weeks, which can affect the central nervous system, causing seizures and other neurological issues.
Giardia bacteria are often found in lakes and rivers, and can also be transmitted by raccoons. It causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, which can be life-threatening in weakened, young, or elderly individuals.
This infection causes flu-like symptoms in humans, and can be transmitted through consumption of water tainted by raccoon urine, or exposure of wounds or broken skin to raccoon waste. 7-10 million people are infected by leptospirosis throughout the world every year.
Most cases are mild and can resolve without significant side effects, but extreme cases can result in liver failure, kidney failure, or meningitis – all of which can be fatal.
Salmonella is one of the most common food-borne illnesses. Given that raccoons often feed on waste, trash, and expired foods found in dumpsters and trash cans, they often carry salmonella, and can transmit it to humans in a variety of different ways. Salmonella is not usually fatal, but food poisoning is extremely uncomfortable, and can take days to resolve.
- E. Coli
Coli, like salmonella, primarily affects the gastrointestinal systems of the body. However, it is much more serious, and can lead to liver and kidney failure. It is found in the excrement of raccoons, and contact can result in infection.
Avoid These Common Diseases – And Get Rid Of Those Raccoons!
There are a few ways to avoid getting infected by a raccoon with one of these diseases. First of all, you should never attempt to handle or approach a raccoon, as a scratch or bite could easily transmit a disease. If you need to remove a raccoon, turn to a professional pest control service like Wildlife Troopers.
If contact does occur, see a physician right away to check for infection, especially if you suspect the raccoon may have been rabid. In addition, you should do your best to minimize the number of raccoons around your home by securing your trash properly, and using liquid/granular repellents to prevent them from coming back.
Need more advice? Contact Wildlife Troopers today. We specialize in raccoon removal and prevention, and we can take care of any raccoon-related problems you may have!