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Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection – Wildlife Division »

Waterford Country School – Wildlife Rehabilitation »


Caution Beware Animal Diseases:

Professional trappers or Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators (NWCOs) are extensively trained and educated regarding the myriad of diseases, some of them fatal if not quickly and properly treated. Great care should be taken by the general public to avoid contact with internal and external parasites, protozoa, bacteria, viruses and fungi. Agents that pose a risk can be transmitted by bites, aerosols (nasal secretions, saliva and urine), contact with skin, hair or fur and contact with either fresh or dried feces. Some of the viruses and diseases are:

RABIES – Hydrophobia - a fatal disease if not treated soon after contact. Contact may occur when comforting a domestic animal after it has fought with an infected wild animal. The rabies virus is located in the brain and brain stem of the infected animal and is transferred through the saliva. It will be on the fur and in any wound your animal incurs and can be transferred to you through an open sore or cut. Rabies can also be aspirated. If contact is made you must seek treatment quickly, usually stated as within seventy-two hours and start the protocol.

The protocol consists of serum injections that are painless. If you are infected with the rabies virus and do not receive treatment, death within two weeks to one year will most certainly occur.

If the animal is not caught and tested it is recommended that you seek advice and assistance from competent medical professionals. One caution, some doctors are not aware of the seriousness of rabies.

HISTOPLASMOSIS – a nasty lung disease curable with antibiotics. The disease is sometimes misdiagnosed by professional. It is often spread in the fecal matter of the animal. It is possible that the infection may be fatal.

HANTAVIRUS – Found in the fecal matter, urine and saliva of white footed mice and can cause serious lung problems. The disease can be fatal if gone untreated.

RACCOON ROUNDWORM – Baylisascaris procyonis -Causes nausea, lethargy, skin irritation, enlarged liver, loss of muscle control and coordination, blindness, and possible coma.

TOXOPLASMOSIS – In people with compromised immune systems it can cause brain damage and death. Pregnant women can pass this microscopic parasite on to the unborn baby and lead to miscarriage or birth defects.

The above are the most common diseases that can be transferred to humans through bites and in some cases just handling an infected animal or working around the nest or burrow. In all cases, take precautions in dealing with wild animals and their habitat.