Update on Recent Reports of Ill Raccoons

Update on Recent Reports of Ill Raccoons

There have been multiple reports of ill raccoons around the Harlan area this spring.  Some raccoons were tested; the lab confirmed that they were infected with distemper virus. While humans cannot get distemper, dogs can get it.

Raccoons can also have other diseases that do cause human illness, such as rabies, raccoon roundworms, leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis.  One of the raccoons tested from Shelby County were also were infected with toxoplasmosis.

 Protect your family and pets by taking the following steps:

  • Enjoy wildlife from a distance. Do not handle or feed raccoons or other wild animals.
  • Do not keep wild animals, like raccoons, as pets, which is often illegal as well as dangerous.
  • Do not touch or handle dead animals.
  • Discourage raccoons from living near your home by tightly closing your garbage cans, covering sandboxes, sealing attics, and not leaving pet food outside.
  • Take your pets to their veterinarian for regular vaccinations (such as distemper and rabies) and deworming.
  • If you see a heavy accumulations of raccoon feces, keep children and pets away from the area.  For more information on cleaning these areas visit: www.idph.state.ia.us/IDPHChannelsService/file.ashx?file=9B1BBC87-1257-476A-AE6E-17B48E471298 .

If you encounter a sick raccoon in the city limits of Harlan, contact the City of Harlan at 755-5137 or the Harlan police department at 755-5151.

Additional resources: