What Diseases Can Raccoons Transmit to Humans?
Raccoons carry numerous diseases that can be detrimental to both human and pet health, and transmission is usually the result of incorrect handling of the pests, which leads to bites or scratches, or direct contact with their feces:
- Rabies - spread via saliva and causes muscle pain, dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, delirium, and irritability.
- Raccoon Roundworm - also known as baylisascaris, this parasite is found in the pest's feces and induces unpleasant symptoms like liver enlargement, loss of muscle control, blindness, and disorientation.
- Leptospirosis - bacteria spread via excrement which causes fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, jaundice, and potentially even kidney or liver failure.
- Giardiasis - gastrointestinal ailment that induces bloating, vomiting, indigestion, and loss of appetite in those afflicted.
- Salmonellosis - when ingested, the Salmonella bacteria brings about abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Raccoon populations often harbor a number of dangerous diseases and parasites that can easily be transmitted to humans who do not take proper precautions. Diseases like leptospirosis, salmonella, giardiasis, and E. coli can be contracted when people consume food or water contaminated with raccoon urine or feces. Common symptoms of many of these diseases include diarrhea, muscle aches, anemia, meningitis, abdominal pain, urinary tract infections, and fever. Finally, raccoons can carry rabies. Transmitted by bites or scratches, rabies is a deadly disease which requires immediate treatment.
Raccoons and Roundworm
The primary parasite carried by raccoons is the roundworm. Transmitted by eggs in the animal's feces, roundworms are inadvertently ingested when humans touch the feces, contaminated food, or polluted water sources and then touch their mouths. Young children are especially vulnerable to roundworms, which cause nausea, loss of muscle control, blindness, coma, and sometimes death.
Individuals should take precautions when they come in close contact with raccoons. By supervising young children during outdoor play, parents can reduce the chance of them contracting diseases by interacting with raccoon feces. Always wash garden vegetables thoroughly to reduce the risk of consuming contaminated food. Never approach wild raccoons, especially if they are acting strangely, staggering about, or showing signs of aggression.
Contact a Professional Wildlife Expert
The safest course of action is to contact the wildlife experts at Critter Control, who are trained to handle problematic raccoons and protect residents from the dangerous diseases they spread.
Learn more about raccoon removal.