Rabid skunk confirmed in Fincastle area

Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 5:16 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 4, 2022 at 5:17 PM EDT
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BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Botetourt County residents are asked to share a notice about a confirmed case of rabies in a skunk near Fincastle.

The skunk was confirmed positive for rabies by the Virginia Department of Health November 4. The skunk was collected in the area of Breezekrest Lane by Botetourt County Animal Control November 1.

If you are aware of any possible human or animal contact with this skunk, you’re asked to contact the RCAHD Environmental Health Division or Botetourt County Animal Control.

A health department statement reads, “Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It is preventable in domestic animals through vaccinations, but is fatal to both animals and humans if left untreated. Exposure to rabies is considered any time a bite or scratch (or other circumstance) allows saliva or central nervous system tissue from a potentially rabid animal to enter an open, fresh wound or come into contact with a mucous membrane by entering the eye, mouth, or nose.”

This is the third similar report of a rabid skunk in our hometowns in recent days, with one each also in Craig County and one in Bland County.

In Virginia, owners of dogs and cats are required to maintain current rabies vaccinations for animals four months old and older. In addition, people should not approach or touch any wild or stray animals, and should report any abnormal animal behavior to their local animal control dispatchers.

All animal bites and rabies exposures (from wild and domestic animals) must be reported to the RCAHD Environmental Health Division at 540-204-9764.

To help prevent the spread of rabies, according to VDH, everyone should:

  • AVOID contact with wild animals and domestic animals you do not know.
  • REPORT unusual-acting animals.
  • VACCINATE all of your dogs, cats and ferrets, and keep their vaccinations current.
  • CALL your doctor and the local health department if you are exposed, or your veterinarian and local animal control if your pet is exposed to an animal with rabies.