Raccoons, cute as they may seem, can be a source of several concerning diseases for humans. When these masked bandits take up residence in your attic, they don’t just bring noise and mess — they also bring potential health hazards to your home.
The most notable Raccoon-related diseases include Rabies, Leptospirosis, Roundworm, and Tetanus. There’s also a potential risk of other zoonotic diseases, which can jump from animals to humans.
Now let’s scrutinize these diseases one by one, to better understand how each one poses a threat to human health in terms of symptoms and transmission.
||Fever, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, nausea
||Bite, scratch, contact with saliva
||High fever, headache, chills, muscle ache, vomiting, jaundice, red eyes
||Contact with urine, bite
||Abdominal pain, loss of appetite, tiredness, weight loss, upset stomach
||Ingestion of eggs found in raccoon feces
||Stiffness in jaw and neck muscles, difficulty swallowing, fever, sweating
How is Rabies Transmitted by Raccoons?
Rabies is perhaps the most well-known disease associated with raccoons. But how does this work exactly? Well, Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can easily spread from animals to humans. The symptoms of rabies typically include fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort.
The rabies transmission from raccoons to humans usually happens through a bite or a scratch that results in an open wound, thereby allowing the virus a pathway into the body. The saliva of an infected raccoon can carry the rabies virus, which can enter the human body through the wound site, leading to the potential onset of this fatal disease.
What is Leptospirosis and How Can Raccoons Spread It?
Leptospirosis is another disease that people can contract from raccoons. The symptoms of Leptospirosis include high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting. Severe cases can lead to kidney damage and meningitis.
So, how is Leptospirosis transmitted from raccoons to humans? The primary method of Leptospirosis disease transmission by raccoons is through their urine. Infectious organisms in the urine seep into soil or water and humans get infected when they come in direct contact with contaminated areas.
Can Raccoons Transmit Roundworm to Humans?
Yes indeed, raccoons can transmit a particular type of roundworm known as Baylisascaris procyonis to humans. The infection often begins with relatively mild symptoms like abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and tiredness. But untreated, it can cause serious complications, even potentially eye damage and brain disorders!
Raccoons infected with this parasite shed microscopic roundworm eggs in their feces. Humans can then become infected by ingesting these eggs inadvertently, making it imperative to avoid directly handling raccoon feces or soil where raccoons defecate.
Possible Transmission of Tetanus via Raccoons
Tetanus is a serious bacterial disease that affects the nervous system and leads to painful muscle contractions. While direct transmission from raccoons is less common, humans can get tetanus if a wound or break in the skin comes in contact with raccoon feces, saliva, or urine. So if you get a bite or a scratch from a raccoon, professional medical examination is just absolutely necessary. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!
As we can see, while raccoon interactions might seem harmless or even cute, they have a hidden danger. From an innocent-looking scratch or bite to stepping barefoot where a raccoon might have relieved itself, risks are present in various forms. Now that we’ve covered the human side, our next topic gravitates around how raccoons can affect our pet’s health — because as we know, what is harmful to us can be equally bad for our furry friends.