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What diseases do skunks carry?

Just like any other animal, skunks also carry a number of diseases that can be dangerous to pets, humans and other animals. Skunks are very susceptible to rabies and they are among the top transmitters of this disease once they are infected. You are at risk of being infected with rabies when you are bitten by a sick skunk or when its saliva comes into direct contact with a wound or scratch on your body; rabies is very fatal because it can lead to death if the situation is not addressed immediately. Other diseases that skunks can carry include:



Distemper
Distemper is a disease that is carried by skunks but it doesn’t affect humans, it can be easily spread to other animals like dogs, cats and other pets. An uninfected animal can therefore get this disease when it comes into direct contact with urine of the infected animal. The good news is that there is a vaccination that prevents dogs and other pets from contracting the infection.

Leptospirosis
This is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to any mammal including humans, once you come into contact with urine from the urine of an infected skunk there are very high chances of being infected with the disease. You can also be infected when you swim in water that has the bacteria that causes this infection; through skin contact you are very susceptible to leptospirosis. It is therefore important to ensure that you are very cautious in areas water points that are likely to be skunk points. The most common symptom when infected with this disease is flu but there are situations where the bacterial infection can result into jaundice, liver and kidney failure or even death.

Zoonoses
Skunks also carry zoonoses which are usually spread to humans by scratches and bites from skunks that are infected. You can also be infected with the disease when you come into contact with their feces. It is always important to handle skunks and anything associated to them with protective gloves because they will always keep you safe.

Canine hepatitis
Hepatitis is also carried by skunks and humans can be infected when they are either bitten or scratched by skunks. To prevent this from happening you always have to be careful when approached by a skunk that appears to be ill.

Intestinal roundworms
Worms are usually transferred to humans when they come into direct contact with either urine or feces of infected skunks; swimming in water that is contaminated with urine from an infected skunk is also dangerous because these worms are always present. You are likely to be infected because your skin will be in direct contact with the worms. The bottom line is that you have to be on the lookout, if you realize that as skunk in your yard is ill, put in place the correct measures that will prevent you from contracting any of the above diseases. Go back to the How to get rid of skunks home page.

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