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MEDIA CONTACTS: Susan Finarelli and Clare Casey, Public Information Officers
pio@fallschurchva.gov  •  703-248-5210 (TTY 711)  •  571-402-9102 cell
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NEWS RELEASE

Raccoon with Rabies found in City of Falls Church

This is the second rabid raccoon found in Falls Church since October. Report suspicious wildlife, scratches, and bites to City Police non-emergency, 703-248-5053 (TTY 711)


Wednesday, November 20, 2019 -- On November 15, a sick raccoon was euthanized by City of Falls Church Police in the area of the 300 block of W Columbia Street. On November 19, the Fairfax County Health Department confirmed that the raccoon was suffering from rabies. There were no human exposures to the animal. 

This is the second rabid raccoon found in the City of Falls Church in recent months. The first raccoon was located in the area of Lea Court and S Spring Street in early October. While there were no human exposures to the animal in this case either, the community should be cognizant of the rabies threat at all times. 

Rabies is endemic to our area and will always be a problem. Residents should:
  • Note that rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus that can infect wildlife, especially raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats and domestic animals such as dogs and cats, especially feral cats. Birds and reptiles cannot contract rabies and are not a threat for that disease. Rabies is in the saliva of infected animals and can be spread through a bite, scratch or exposure to saliva and brain and central nervous tissue.
     
  • Rabid animals may act normal during the early stages of the disease and sometimes it can be hard to detect, however animals that appear to be staggering, drooling or appear paralyzed are suspect. Wildlife that appear to be overly friendly or showing signs of distress should also be avoided.
     
  • Be aware of the abundance of wildlife in our area and understand that the wildlife in our area coexist very well. Most of the wildlife population is healthy.
     
  • Never feed stray animals or wildlife or leave pet food out on your property. Clean up excess bird food on the ground which draws in rats and other small mammals and birds. Do not attempt to rehabilitate wildlife. Do not foster wildlife in your yard or home.
     
  • Vaccinate your dogs and cats and make sure their vaccinations are up to date.
     
  • Never allow your pets (especially cats) to roam unattended. Pet owners should be extremely careful when letting their unattended pets out into the yard, especially at night. 
     
  • Seal up any openings in your house so that wildlife cannot enter. Make sure all trash cans are tightly closed. 
Report suspicious wildlife and any animal bites or scratches to the Falls Church Police Department's non-emergency line, 703-241-5053 (TTY 711).
 
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