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Skunk diseases are rare. The main concern is rabies. Skunks can become rabid. If you see a skunk behaving oddly, or sick, especially during daylight hours, stay away. If bitten, call emergency services immediately. If you need skunk help, click the nationwide directory of Professional Wildlife Removal Companies, and you'll find a skunk expert in your town or city.
SKUNK TRANSMITTED DISEASES - Diseases transmitted to humans by animals are called zoonoses. According to statistics, there are almost 39 major diseases we get directly from animals. But very few of these are from skunks. There are almost 48 notable diseases we can catch from the bite of bugs that have bit an infected animal. There are almost 42 notable diseases that we get by handling or ingesting food or water contaminated by feces of animals like skunks.
Zoonoses are spread by bites and scratches of infected animals, such as skunks, or their feces. Diseases can develop in humans by animal bite when the animal's teeth break into skin and introduce saliva that contains disease organisms below the surface of the skin. According to a research, dangerous bacteria are present in about 85 % of animal bites . These bacteria can nurture inside the wound and can result in infection. The result of infection from these bites ranges from mild discomfort to lethal complications.
Skunk feces can carry many dangerous diseases. Animal owners can help prevent health problems in their pets and themselves by maintaining good sanitation and veterinary care. Mistakenly it is believed by owners that only fresh stool can be a health threat. In fact, many parasite found in stool will not reach the infectious stage until days or weeks after the animal defecated. Allowing stool to dry out and disintegrate creates a major risk for exposure to parasites. These parasite can remain active in soil for many months. The most vital step, pet owners can take to protect themselves and the pets is to remove feces daily. Weekly removal is not frequent enough.
Here's an analysis of various wildlife diseases, only a few of which apply to skunks.
Anthrax - Not a Skunk Risk
Anthrax is a result of spore-forming bacteria and commonly occurs in herbivore mammals. People can become effected by anthrax if they inhale anthrax spores from infected animal products.
Arbovirus - Not a Skunk Risk
Arbovirus is a virus that is transmitted by arthropod. Mosquitoes most commonly carry arboviral viruses.
Avian Influenza - Not a Skunk Risk
Avian influenza (bird flu) is caused by avian influenza A viruses. Wild waterbirds carry these viruses, and can infectpoultry. On rare occasions avian influenza viruses can infect people causing diseases. Certain changes may transform the avian influenza virus to spread easily between humans and could cause large flu outbreaks.
B virus (Herpes B) - Not a Skunk Risk
B virus, commonly found in macaque monkeys. It can be survive in their saliva for a life time and can be transmitted to humans through scratches and bites, and can trigger acute neurological disease.
Brucellosis - Not a Skunk Risk
Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that can infect many livestock. It causes animals to abort and have stillbirth. Animals that are infected can excrete the bacteria in milk.
Cat Scratch Disease - Not a Skunk Risk
Cat scratch disease is a bacterial disease caused by cats. The bacteria is transmitted between cats by fleas. Affected flea faeces on the cat's fur is the source of disease to humans, which can be transmitted from a cat to a person by lick, bite or scratch. Humans can develop skin infection and a fever.
Dead Animal Disposal - Yes a Skunk Risk
When dead animals decompose, bacteria that is normally within the animal's body can be released, exposing people to harmful infections. Timely removal of dead animals are the their owner's responsibility.
Fish Tank Granuloma - Not a Skunk Risk
Fish tank granuloma is caused by bacteria, that is found in aquatic environments. This bacteria is often present in fish aquarium or food fish breaded under infected conditions. Humans can get affected by direct contact with infected water sources. Bacteria enters the skin and the infection can cause skin damage. It may cause joint and bone infections. Those who clean aquariums must wear gloves and clean their hands thoroughly afterwards.
Hantavirus - Not a Skunk Risk
Hantavirus is a severe respiratory disease resulted by inhaling dust that has been infected by saliva, stool or urine. It has flu-like symptoms, but worsens to shortness of breath and fluid filled lungs. About 34% of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome cases are lethal.
Histoplasmosis - Not a Skunk Risk
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by fungus. The major source of this virus is bird droppings in the soil. These fungal spores pose a threat when the soil or droppings are disturbed. Inhaling the spores also affects. Skunk feces don't really get it. To identify skunk droppings, see pictures of skunk feces.
Importing Animals - Not a Skunk Risk
The import of animals raises the risk of introduction of diseases. In 2004, African rodents with monkeypox were imported into the USA, which later resulted in several people getting ill.
Listeriosis - Not a Skunk Risk
Listeriosis is a rare but fatal disease. It is usually transmitted by eating or drinking foods infected by bacteria. Dairy products that are unpasteurized, are the foods most likely to carry listeriosis. In cattle and goats this infection can cause them to abort. It is especially dangerous to expecting women, the old and young.
Lyme Disease - Not a Skunk Risk, though skunks can be vectors
Lyme diseaseis a bacterial disease and is spread by the bites of infected ticks. The common symptom of Lyme disease is the expanding "bull's-eye" shaped rash which starts at the spot of the bite. Fever, joint pain, headache and muscle aches may occur. If not unattended, result may include heart disease, and nervous system disorders. Pets such as dogs and horses can also suffer from Lyme disease.
Plague - Not a Skunk Risk
Plague is a serious infection to humans resulted by bacteria transmission. This bacteria is present in rodents and their fleas. Humans are affected by the bite of an infected flea. This isn't a skunk disease that I know of.
Rabies - YES, a Skunk Risk
Rabies is a severe viral disease that affects the central nervous system and all warm-blooded mammals, including humans, can get affected. Rabies is always fatal. Rabies cause 55,000 deaths a year around the world.
Raccoon Roundworm - Not a Skunk Risk
Raccoon roundworm is an intestinal worm found in raccoons. Humans and other animals, can get infected when they accidentally ingest the eggs from water and soil that have been infected by raccoon droppings.
Rat Bite Fever - Not a Skunk Risk
Rat bite fever is a bacterial infection that is transmitted to people by scratches or bites from rats. Symptoms include fever, nausea, headache, muscle and joint pain, and the hands and feet might develop rash.
Ringworm - Not a Skunk Risk
Ringworm is a fungus that grows on the skin. Many animals can get ringworm. Humans are infected by direct contact with the affected person or animal. Ringworm infection on a human’s scalp looks like a bald patch of scaly red skin and elsewhere on the body it is a red, ring-shaped rash. The spores of ringworm fungus can survive for a long time on furniture, carpet or other surfaces, and cause infections.
West Nile Virus - Not a Skunk Risk
West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes which pick up the virus after parasiting on infected wild birds. Humans, horses, and certain types of birds are affected by this virus. This results in fever, which is from mild to extreme. In the extreme case, the virus damages the nervous system and can end in paralysis or death.
For more information on skunk diseases, and for a recipe to remove skunk spray odor, go to my skunk removal information page or my how to get rid of skunks page.