American Animal Control
American Animal Control

Raccoon Removal and Control Experts
Raccoon Diseases
Infectious Diseases of Raccoons

Raccoons in the United States are known to carry infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans and animals that have contact with raccoons or their waste. Both young and mature raccoons can shed viruses, bacteria and parasites that when exposed to humans and animals can result in infections and disease. People should not handle raccoons or their waste without protection and appropriate training.

Raccoons expose humans to disease when handled or if there is exposure to bodily secretions or feces. Saliva, urine, feces and bites or scratches are the most common routes of exposure. Contamination of the environment and any materials used by the raccoons can also be a source. People who handle raccoons, who are bitten, scratched or exposed to their waste, should be aware of the potential health hazards.

Any person who has handled a raccoon of any age should consult a physician immediately. Individuals who have participated in the handling, care, feeding and cleaning of any raccoons should be evaluated for exposure to the following diseases and be informed of all the potential human health risks caused by wildlife and raccoons.

Rabies: Rabies is a virus that is spread by contact with the saliva of a rabid animal or by being scratched or bitten by a rabid animal. Raccoons are one of the most common species to carry rabies.

Baylisascaris procyonis: (Bay-lis-asc-aris) The Raccoon Ascarid or roundworm is a parasite of the intestines of raccoons that sheds large numbers of eggs in the feces. Feces contaminated with eggs can become infective to humans after 2-4 weeks of incubation. Exposure to feces during handling, feeding and cleaning can cause a serious disease known as Visceral Larval Migrans and infection of the central nervous system. Oral ingestion of infective stages of eggs is the primary route of exposure.

Giardiasis: Giardia species is a microscopic protazoal infection that can be transmitted by a wide variety of animals. Raccoons can carry this organism in their feces and contaminate water, soil and surfaces. Humans can contract Giardia by ingestion of infective cysts from contaminated animals and sources. Patients can develop severe gastrointestinal symptoms.

Leptospirosis: Leptospira species is a bacterial infection that many animals and humans can contract and transmit. There are several different species of Leptospira that are found in wildlife, which is the primary source of contamination of the environment with these bacteria. Raccoons can shed Leptospirosis in their urine and secretions. Exposure of these excretions to open wounds or orally can cause infection to humans.
Raccoon Damage
Raccoons frequently inhabit attics. They love to live in attics because attics provide a warm, dry, safe shelter to live in. Raccoons will often pry open areas under soffits, vents, and other areas in order to gain access to the attic. Once inside, they consider it their home (and toilet). They leave behind urine and droppings, not to mention a number of parasites. We have seen several attics with raccoons that emerged covered with fleas. They can damage ductwork and limit the R-value (effectiveness) of the insulation. If you have raccoons in the attic, you have a bigger problem than just the unsettling noise that they make. Raccoons can, and almost always do, damage an attic. If they tear open ductwork, you lose your heating/cooling airflow. If they rip the insulation off of pipes, you don't preserve temperatures. If they trample insulation, your heating/cooling bills will rise. If they chew wires, they create a fire hazard. If they tear open holes in the roof you get leaks, and any hole can let new animals in. They will create a latrine or restroom in an area of the attic. It will stink and you will have a chance that raccoon roundworm will be present in the droppings.
If they are allowed to stay, they will stay for most of the year, and will return to the same area year after year. This is not a problem to ignore.