Recently, the Wayne County Public Health Division confirmed three cases of rabies in skunks in Livonia. No people or pets are known to have been exposed at this time and human exposure to the skunks is uncommon. However, out of caution, we strongly urge our residents to avoid unfamiliar animals including stray, wild, or dead animals and to vaccinate all domestic animals for rabies.
Rabies is a fatal, but preventable viral disease that infects the central nervous system of mammals, including humans. It is primarily transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal, most commonly bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. If a person does not receive the appropriate medical care after a potential exposure to rabies, the virus can infect the brain and result in death.
Follow these steps to protect yourself and your pets from rabies:
• Ensure that all pets, including dogs and cats, stay up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
• Avoid contact including handling, feeding, or attracting unfamiliar, stray, wild, or dead animals.
• Keep pets indoors, supervise when outside, and always use a leash when walking to limit their exposure to wild animals that may be rabid.
• Do not leave food or water outside for pets when unattended.
• Keep garbage securely covered with tight-fitting lids to prevent attracting wild animals.
• Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
• Wash animal bites or scratches immediately with soap and water.
• Seek medical attention immediately if bitten or scratched by a stray or wild animal. Rabies treatment is highly effective in preventing rabies but only IF administered before symptoms develop.
Animals that appear to be in distress should always be reported to City of Livonia Animal Control at (734) 466-2655 or the Livonia Police Department’s non-emergency line at (734) 466-2470.
For more information on rabies, please visit www.michigan.gov/rabies