CHESAPEAKE, VA. (WAVY) – The Chesapeake Health Department has received confirmation from Chesapeake Animal Services that a rabid raccoon was found in the Portlock neighborhood of the city.

Two residents first came across the raccoon March 23 near Portlock Road in the Homecrest Mobile Home Community. Testing confirmed the raccoon was positive for rabies. The two residents are now currently under medical care.

Residents are now advised to stay safe, avoid contact with wildlife, and to ensure that all pets and livestock have up-to-date vaccinations.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. VDH notes that it kills almost every animal or human who gets sick from it. The rabies virus is mostly found in the saliva and brain, and can be transmitted through a bite, or getting saliva or brain matter into the eye, nose, mouth, or any open wound.

Dr. Nancy Welch, health director for the Chesapeake Health Department, says that rabies is highly preventable if the vaccine is administered early and as recommended. To prevent rabies in dogs and cats, be sure to keep them up to date on their vaccinations. State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated.

To prevent any exposure to rabies, either to yourself or to your pet, don’t approach wild animals, securely seal garbage containers with lids and seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite. All animal exposures must be taken seriously.

For more information on rabies, contact the Chesapeake Health Department at 757-382-8672 or Animal Control at 757-382-8080 or log onto Virginia Department of Health’s website or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.