BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Health has confirmed that a skunk tested positive for rabies in the Cloverdale area on August 17.

The Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts report the skunk was found on Cook Avenue on August 11. Health officials are advising all residents in the area to avoid any contact with wild and domestic animals that they do not know.

The health district is also advising residents in the area to do the following:

  • Report unusual-acting animals.
  • Make sure all pets are up-to-date on vaccinations
  • Call your doctor and the local health department if you are exposed, or your veterinarian and local animal control if your pet is exposed to an animal with rabies.

According to the VDH, rabies is a disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The disease can be preventable through vaccinations but it is deadly in both humans and animals if it is not treated properly.

Exposure to rabies can occur when a subject is bit or scratched and saliva from a potentially rabid animal enters an open or fresh wound. Infections can also happen when rabid tissues enter the eye, mouth, or nose.

If you are exposed to a rabid skin or animal bite it must be reported to the RCAHD Environmental Health Division at 540-204-9764.