Third Rabid Raccoon Found

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A third animal in just two months has been found to be infected with the rabies virus in Mahoning County.

According to the Mahoning County District Board of Health, a raccoon found in the vicinity of Omar Street in Struthers has tested positive for the rabies virus.

Thursday, the board announced an animal found near Cherry Hill Place in Boardman Township was infected, and last month a raccoon found in Canfield, near Colonial Drive also tested positive.

Mary Helen Smith, director of environmental health, said residents should not attempt to approach animals in the wild.

“Residents should be vigilant and not interact with or feed wildlife,” said Smith. “All pet food should be kept indoors to prevent attracting raccoons or skunks into your yard.”

Although there was no known exposure to animals or humans in both cases, the board lists the following recommendations to help protect residents from the disease:

· Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals and be cautious around stray cats and dogs.
· Teach children to leave wildlife alone and be sure that your child knows to tell you if an animal bites or scratches them.
· Have your pet cats, dogs, and ferrets vaccinated for rabies and keep their vaccinations current.
· Keep trash can lids secure. Open containers can attract wildlife.
· Feed pets indoors. Never leave food outdoors that can attract wildlife.
· Report any bite incidents to your local health department and call your doctor for medical advice.

If you find a dead raccoon, skunk, or fox that is not decayed or involved in a pet or human exposure, please contact your local health department.

If found in the city of Youngstown, please 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.

A spring rabies clinic for dogs, cats and ferrets will be held Saturday, May 18, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Berlin Township Fire Station, 15801 West Akron-Canfield Road. The cost is $6.

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