CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Health officials in Chesapeake are warning the public about rabies after a bat and raccoon both tested positive for the disease within 48 hours of each other.

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According to health officials, a raccoon tested positive for rabies on December 16 in Oak Grove Park of Chesapeake. Just two days later, on December 18, a bat tested positive in the 2400 Block of Smith Avenue in the Valley Stream neighborhood.

Rabies is a deadly disease and can sicken and kill humans and most mammals. It can be prevented with a vaccine, if it’s given early enough and as recommended by health officials.

Those who were bitten by a possibly rabid animal should seek immediate medical treatment.

People should also enjoy wildlife from a distance. They should not feed or encourage wild animals such as raccoons, skunks or foxes to visit their property.

State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated against rabies.

The Health Director strongly emphasizes the following recommendations for Chesapeake residents to take in protecting their families and their pets from rabies:

  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, check for injuries and contact the Chesapeake Animal Control at (757) 382-8080.
  • Seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite to ensure appropriate and timely evaluation and treatment. All animal exposures must be taken seriously.
  • Do not approach wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, or skunks. If you think a wild animal needs help, call the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for guidance (www.dgif.virginia.gov).
  • Bring stray domestic animals, especially if they appear ill or injured, to the attention of local animal control authorities. If you think a stray animal needs help, contact your local animal control office for guidance.
  • Have your veterinarian vaccinate your dogs, cats, ferrets, and selected livestock. Keep the vaccinations up-to-date. Consult your veterinarian or the Chesapeake Health Department if you have any questions about pet vaccinations.
  • Confine your pets to your property.
  • Securely seal garbage containers with lids