Raccoons and the diseases they can carry
The raccoon is a unique mammal that looks adorable with a little mask around their eyes. They can be very aggressive to humans and domestic animals when they are hungry, protective, or if they have a disease. Once raccoons get used to going through people’s trash cans and feeling safe doing so, they will make your home part of their nightly routine. They may even decide in the middle of the day that they are hungry and go out looking for food in your trashcans and end up meeting you or your children in the yard.
They try to intimidate by staring the unknown individual down and then turning around slowly while keeping their eyes on them at all times. However, if a raccoon is hungry, they may challenge the person in order to get to their food source.
Raccoons carry diseases and these diseases can be transmitted from one raccoon to another animal or from a raccoon to a person through a bite or from their urine and feces as well. Here are the most common diseases found in raccoons that can also affect humans and other animals too.
Roundworms can be found in the feces of the raccoon as well as roundworm eggs. Because the eggs are light, they can even become airborne if the conditions are right. Humans, if they are close by can actually inhale the eggs and that is how humans can become sick. When roundworms are alive inside the body, they can be very dangerous, even fatal, if they are not treated in time. The roundworms can attack the central nervous system and that can affect both the brain and the organs.
Another familiar disease that can be transmitted from raccoons to humans is rabies. This is a disease that is becoming more common in wild animals. It can be passed to humans by direct scratch or bite of a raccoon that already has it. Rabies is not a life-threatening disease and can be treated by a medical professional.
If you see a raccoon acting strangely, you may want to avoid it and get all domestic pets inside the house until it passes by. Be sure to report a raccoon that is acting strangely so animal control can watch out for it. If you must go out and pick up garbage that the raccoon got into at night, then wear a thick pair of rubber gloves that will provide protection for your hands.
Leptospirosis can also be spread through the feces and urine of a raccoon. Other animals, as well as humans, are susceptible to this disease if exposed through a cut or an open wound on the body. If a raccoon gets into your trash, and while they are there, they decide to use the bathroom as they continue to eat, then you come along and pick up the trash because it was scattered around, you may touch the feces which was infected and not realize that you had a cut on your finger. You may go inside and wash your hands but by the time you got the trash picked up and walked back inside to wash your hands, the bacteria may have already entered the body.
Another disease that can be transferred from raccoons to humans is Salmonella. It is also contracted through the feces. If you accidentally touch the feces at some point and then put your hands to your mouth, the bacteria then has a mode to travel inside the body.