What Diseases do Raccoons Carry?

Raccoons can look cute and not very threatening, but they can be very aggressive animals. They can also carry many diseases. Raccoons can spread these diseases by scratches, bites, and indirect contact.

With more raccoons living in suburbs and urban environments, the risk of coming in contact with infected raccoons is increasing. Raccoons can carry a number of diseases that can affect both humans and pets. Here are just a few of the diseases that raccoons can carry.

1. Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection, which raccoons spread through their feces and urine. It can be contracted by other animals and humans. If you or your pet has a wound or open cut the infection can enter the body if you come in contact with the feces or urine directly. Leptospirosis can cause vomiting, headaches, anemia, liver and kidney failure, and muscles aches.

2. Raccoon Roundworm

Raccoons can carry a specific type of roundworms. They spread the roundworm eggs with their droppings. The eggs are very light, so they can become airborne. Humans and other animals can inhale the eggs and become infected without knowing it. This roundworm is dangerous and can be fatal if it is not treated quickly. Roundworm affects the central nervous system and damages major organs including the heart and brain. Severe cases of roundworm can lead to comas and blindness.

3. Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease that can affect most animal species. Most times, rabies is spread by bites and scratches. Rabies can be treated if it is caught soon after the infection. Most animals will show signs of rabies, but some will not show any at all. This is why you should assume that a raccoon is infected with rabies until it is tested. If you are bitten or scratched by a raccoon, you should seek immediate medical treatment.

4. Salmonella

Salmonella can be found in raccoon feces, and the bacteria mostly affect humans. When you come in contact with raccoon feces or urine, and do not wash your hands with soap and warm water before touching your face or mouth, there is a risk that the bacteria will enter your body. Most cases of salmonella are not deadly, but they can be very painful. Salmonella can cause abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, and high fevers.

5. Lyme Disease

While raccoons may not have Lyme disease, the ticks that they may carry can have the disease. Ticks can jump on raccoons when the raccoon is in tall grass. The ticks can stay on the raccoons, and enter your home, where they can bite you or your pets. This does not happen often, but raccoons have been known to move ticks to new areas. If you have a raccoon living in or around your home, you should be careful and check yourself and your pets regularly for ticks and tick bites. If you are bitten by a tick, do not try to remove it yourself and seek medical help immediately.

Raccoons can be very cute, but they can carry a huge amount of diseases that are dangerous to other animals and humans. This is why you should avoid having raccoons in or around your home.

Read the How to get rid of raccoons page for helpful information and to learn more about What Diseases do Raccoons Carry?

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