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Health & Science

A Second Rabid Racoon Has Been Found in Stark County

Fairfield County Health Department

A second rabid raccoon has turned up in northeast Ohio in as many months, and that has drawn the attention of public health and wildlife agencies in the region.  

The diseased raccoons were found, one in March and one this month, in Paris Township east of Canton. Todd Paulus directs the rabies unit of the Stark County health department.  “We’ve seen bat-strain rabies throughout Ohio for years. And, certainly it’s a concern. But the bigger concern with raccoon-strain rabies is that the raccoon has more interaction with domestic animals and pets.  So there is a potential higher risk of exposure for pets, and the, subsequently people.”

Paulus says raccoon rabies hasn’t been seen in most of Ohio for twenty years; since the start of a joint federal, state and local program of putting out raccoon bait laced with rabies vaccine. But, he says the program will now likely be reviewed to see if it needs to be adjusted.

And, he has some advice for avoiding potentially dangerous encounters. “

Todd Paulus' advice for avoiding racoons

“Avoid wild animals.  Teach your children, and keep your pets away from wild animals. Make sure your own pets are vaccinated. And do things that help to prevent them to want to even come to your property.  Such as, don’t feed animals outside, don’t keep your trash at a place where raccoons would want to get into it and be attracted to your property.”

Paulus also says one of the Health Department’s semi-annual pet rabies-vaccination clinics is coming up May 6th at the Stark County fairgrounds.