Rabies confirmed in skunk in Tormentor Lake area of Isle of Wight County

Published 11:05 am Friday, October 27, 2023

A skunk that fought with a dog in the Tormentor Lake area of Isle of Wight County has tested positive for rabies. 

The incident occurred Friday, Oct. 20, the Isle of Wight Health Department confirmed Thursday, Oct. 26 in a new release.

Officials said that fortunately the dog was vaccinated. The dog received a booster vaccination and will be under a 45-day observation period, the release stated.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Department officials said rabies poses a health risk to people.

“Exposure of humans to rabies occurs when the saliva of an infected animal enters the body through an open wound or mucous membrane, such as with an animal bite,” the department said in its statement. “An animal exposure can be a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation and complete treatment is critical.” Rabies is highly preventable if the vaccine is given early and as recommended. “Unfortunately, without preventive treatment, by the time someone develops symptoms of rabies, there is no cure, and the disease is fatal in almost 100% of cases,” the health department warned. “The disease is also fatal in infected domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.”

Western Tidewater Health District Health Director Angela Tillery, MBA, said in the release she strongly emphasizes the following recommendations for Isle of Wight residents to take in protecting their families and their pets from rabies: 

  • 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 or stray animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, cats and dogs. 
  • Ensure all pet dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations. Please consult a veterinarian, Isle of Wight Animal Control, or the Isle of Wight Health Department with any questions about pet vaccinations. 
  • Confine pets to the owner’s property. 
  • Securely seal garbage containers with lids. 

State law requires all dogs and cats more than four months old be vaccinated against rabies, officials noted.

 For more information on rabies, contact the county’s health department at 757-279-3078, county animal control at 757-365-6318, or visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website at bit.ly/3M3kpAW or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at cdc.gov/rabies.