The infectious diseases carried by raccoons can affect pets as well as humans. If you have young children at home, they are also at a high risk because they usually play outdoors and on the ground where they can be in direct contact with raccoon urine and feces. Raccoons frequently defecate and urinate in the same place and generate piles of feces called raccoon latrines. Raccoon latrine locations include tree bases, stumps, garages, under decks and in attics.
Diseases spread by Raccoons:
Raccoons can excrete roundworm eggs through their droppings. These eggs are very light and can become airborne. Humans can easily inhale these eggs and become infected. After the eggs are swallowed they hatch into larvae that move to different parts of the body and can cause serious illness within a week. Raccoon roundworm is very dangerous and can be fatal if it is left untreated. It can affect the central nervous system, and can eventually impair important organs, including the brain. Severe consequences of roundworm disease can result in blindness or coma.
The symptoms of roundworm include:
- Loss of muscle control
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of vision
Giardiasis is an infection that can be transmitted by many animals, including raccoons. Raccoons can carry this organism in their feces and can contaminate water, soil and any surface that Giardiamay contacts. Humans become infected by ingesting the droppings.
Symptoms of Giardiasis
- abdominal cramps
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that raccoons can spread through their urine and droppings. This infection can be contracted by both humans and animals. If you have an open cut or wound and you have come in direct contact with raccoon urine or other secretions, you may contract the disease.
The symptoms of Leptospirosis include:
- Nauseas and vomiting
- Severe head and muscle aches
- High fever
- Kidney and liver failure.
Raccoon dropping my contain salmonella bacteria. Humans can contract this infection through incidental ingestion by unintentionally transferring the microorganisms from the hands to the mouth. These bacteria can stay dormant in a dry environment for a long time, although it can become active through favorable conditions.
Salmonella poisoning can lead to these health problems:
- High fever
- Severe diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
Rabies is a viral disease which can be carried by a variety of species, including raccoons. It is very important to stay alert and vigil if you have been bitten or scratched by an infected raccoon, as the disease can be fatal.
How to identify a possible rabid raccoon
- Stumble as if they were drunk
- Froth forming at the mouth
- Aggressive behavior
- Attack inanimate objects or pets
How to avoid being infected by Raccoon dropping or urine
- Discourage raccoons around your residence:
- Never feed raccoons
- Feed pets inside and store pet food inside
- Keep pets inside at night
- Prevent raccoons from entering your house through pet doors or other opening
- Keep garbage cans inside and use locking or secured lids outside
- Clean barbecue grills after each use
- Use secure bins for food composting
- Avoid contact with raccoon feces and safely clean up areas where raccoons defecate (raccoon latrines) on your property.
- Avoid direct contact with water, soil and vegetation contaminated with raccoon urine.
What Should I Do If I’ve Touched or Eaten Feces?
Clean your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap, and monitor for symptoms of illness in the future. If you do develop symptoms, recalling that you handled raccoon waste may help narrow down your exact ailment. Treatment of a roundworm or other infection should be handled by a doctor.
Should I Clean It, Or Leave it Alone?
If you think there’s a risk of a person or pet coming into contact with the feces, clean it. Even if a raccoon poops in the swimming pool, the chlorine won’t kill roundworm eggs. If you don’t clean feces in the attic, it’s likely to attract insects, perhaps future animals, and the roundworm spores live a long time. But there’s also a good chance nothing would ever happen, so long as you don’t touch or disturb the feces up there.
All raccoon exposures including bites and scratches should be assessed by a health care provider and reported to Public Health. Raccoon exposures to pets should be reported to the Public Health Veterinarian.
Vaccinate cats, dogs and ferrets to protect them against rabies; consider vaccinating dogs for leptospirosis.
Proper removal, disinfection and other required methods involve someone who is knowledgeable and experienced with what must be done when handling Raccoons. Raccoons and their wastes are more than a simple nuisance, so do not cut corners and gamble with the health of your family, handle the matter professionally.
Your Wildlife Technician will advise cleaning and clearing tactics, like insulation repair and attic restoration, depending on the severity of contamination. This will help ensure that your home remains safe for you and your family.
If you think you have a raccoon problem, call Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control today. 1-888-592-0387. Proudly serving: Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge and the Niagara Region.