BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Laboratory reports confirmed that two raccoons found in Boardman Township were positive for the rabies virus variant, according to the Mahoning County District Board of Health.
The first raccoon was found near South Avenue and Western Reserve Road. The second raccoon was found near South Avenue and Boardman Poland Road.
Officials from the local USDA Wildlife Services offices ran preliminary tests on the raccoons that indicated they were positive for rabies. The specimens were subsequently sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for variant typing. Confirmation of the preliminary reports is still pending.
Although there were no known exposures to animals or humans in this case, the Mahoning County District Board of Health is reminding residents to protect themselves from the ever-present threat of rabies by following these precautions:
- Vaccinate your pets.
- Maintain control of your pets to reduce their exposure to wildlife.
- Spay or neuter to decrease the number of stray animals.
- Avoid contact with wildlife and stray animals.
- Wash any animal bite areas thoroughly and follow up with a doctor.
- Report any bite incidents to your local health department.
“Residents should be vigilant and not interact with or feed wildlife,” says Mary Helen Smith, director of environmental health for the Mahoning County District Board of Health. “Feed pets indoors and keep trash can lids secure to avoid attracting wildlife into your yard.”
Rabies is a fatal viral disease and a serious public health threat. All mammals, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats, are believed susceptible to the disease. Rabies is most often transmitted through bites and scratches from unvaccinated pets, strays and wildlife.
Anyone finding a suspected sick or dead raccoon, skunk or fox that is not decayed or involved in a pet or human exposure, please contact the local health department for surveillance purposes. If found in the city of Youngstown, contact the Youngstown City Health District at (330) 743-3333. If found in all other Mahoning County communities, contact the Mahoning County District Board of Health at (330) 270-2855 menu selection #2.