Skunks carry a number of diseases that can be harmful or transmitted to people, pets, or other animals. Skunks are the #2 carrier of Rabies accounting for more than 29% of reported cases. Transmission of rabies begins when the infected saliva of a skunk is passed to an uninfected person or animal. The most common mode of rabies transmission is through bites or scratches that contain saliva that is infected. Rabies infection in humans can cause death.
LEPTOSPIROSIS is a bacterial disease that can infect all mammals, including humans. Humans become infected with this disease by coming in contact with infected animal urine through water, soil, or food. Swimming in water infected with this bacterium can cause infection through skin contact, especially through eyes, nose, or broken skin. Touching infected areas such as soil or food can also cause an infection. Death, jaundice, and kidney or liver failure can occur with human infection although flu-like symptoms are most common.
DISTEMPER can be carried and spread to other animals (especially dogs) by skunks. Distemper does not affect humans. The disease is spread when uninfected animals come in contact with urine of an infected animal. Dogs can be vaccinated to prevent this infection.
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