It is a known fact that raccoons are aggressive animals that can easily transfer certain diseases to humans through bites, scratches or even indirect contact. Since it is not uncommon for some to encounter these animals especially at night time as they scavenge for food, it is vital to take the necessary precautions while they are around and observe proper care when handling materials that they came in contact with or left behind.
The most prevalent disease humans can acquire from raccoons is rabies. It is important to note that the rabies virus targets the central nervous system in humans and can lead to the manifestation of symptoms such as fever, hallucinations and even seizures.
In case a raccoon is a carrier of the rabies virus, it is usually present in the saliva, thus infected raccoons can easily transfer the disease through a bite or scratch since their claws are likely to come in contact with their mouths. It is best to stay away from raccoons in the wild but this is true if their behavior appears erratic or aggressive. Always remember that rabies can be lethal but there are only a few confirmed cases of rabies acquired from raccoons that resulted to death.
Raccoons are capable of excreting a high number of roundworm eggs via their feces. The eggs are usually lightweight and can float, thus resulting to infections due to inhalation. The unintentional ingestion can also lead to an infection. The roundworm parasites can cause serious health issues in humans once they affect the central nervous system and can even lead to the impairment of the bodily organs including the brain. In severe cases of roundworm infections, it can lead to loss of vision or even a coma.
Salmonella bacteria are often present in the feces of raccoons and can be contracted by humans through contact with the droppings or even ingestion of the microorganisms by unintentionally transferring it from the hands to the mouth.
Take note that the bacteria can stay dormant in dry environments for a long period of time and can become active under satisfactory conditions. Salmonella poisoning can eventually lead to fever, abdominal pain and severe diarrhea. This condition can be life-threatening to children, the elderly and those who have weakened immune systems. If you want to learn ways to manage the symptoms of food poisoning, click here.
The bacterium Leptospira is responsible for causing leptospirosis which infects humans as well as various animals including raccoons. The animal can excrete this microorganism via their urine, thus humans can become infected by drinking water that has been contaminated by the bacteria. When it comes to mild cases of leptospirosis, it can cause the manifestation of symptoms such as high fever, body pain along with diarrhea and vomiting. In severe cases, it can lead to meningitis, anemia and liver failure.