Laboratory reports confirmed that a raccoon found in Boardman Township was positive for the rabies virus variant common to raccoons in the eastern United States. The raccoon was found near Market and Meadowbrook Avenues in Boardman Township. This is the fourth positive raccoon in Mahoning County this season.
Officials from the local USDA Wildlife Services offices ran a preliminary test on the raccoon that indicated it was positive for rabies. The specimen was subsequently sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for variant typing, which confirmed the preliminary report.
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.
"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.
If you find a suspected sick or dead raccoon, skunk, or fox that is not decayed or involved in a pet or human exposure, please contact your local health department for surveillance purposes:
If found in the city of Youngstown, please contact the Youngstown City Health District at
If found in all other Mahoning County communities, please contact the Mahoning County District Board of Health at 330-270-2855 menu selection #2.
A fall rabies vaccination clinic for dogs, cats, and ferrets is set for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Struthers Police Department garage, 6 Elm St. No appointment is necessary and it is $6 per shot.