Contracting a Disease from raccoons by humans or even pets is a very uncommon scenario. However, this does not mean that such contraction is not possible. When you get a zoonotic disease from a raccoon simply because of ignorance, then you'll have yourself to blame. There is a saying that common sense is the best prevention. The saying is made relevant in a human-raccoon interaction scenario. Always ensure that you do not handle a raccoon that appears sick (or even healthy for that matter) with your bare hands. Professionals will often use a snare pole when removing a sick raccoon.
Other people have a common habit of picking up raccoon poop with their bare hands. What then happens when the same people shake hands with someone without even cleaning their hands? Chances are that any form of contamination will be passed and the eventuality is not so pleasant from a health perspective. Some of the infections from raccoons such as the raccoon roundworms can cause serious health complications including permanent blindness. With such information in mind, it would be expected that people will be more careful when in close contact with raccoons or their feces.
Rabies is one of the diseases that is closely associated with raccoons. Raccoons that are infected with rabies move erratically and may appear sickly and even confused. During the advanced stages, rabid raccoons are characterized by lethargic walking where they appear to be simply walking in circles, and can even appear to be "drunk." The extreme symptoms of rabies in raccoons are complete paralysis of the hind legs rendering the raccoon incapable of any movement. When a raccoon is in this state of paralysis, do not assume it's safe. They will snap awake at times and you don't want to be anywhere near the creature when this happens. Call a wildlife removal professional when dealing with rabid raccoons.
Raccoons with rabies are also very aggressive, a similar trait that is common in rabid dogs. At this stage, the raccoons have foam around the mouth area and can be aggressive under the least provocation. However, research has established that raccoons do not go around spreading rabies to everyone they come into contact with as it is with dogs, raccoons can only transmit rabies to people during the last week of life. During the last stages, all the symptoms of rabies are fully present and it is during this period that people can get infected when in contact with the animals.
Humans will often come into contact with raccoons when they attempt amateur trapping when raccoons have infested different parts of their property. This can be a huge risk of contracting the rabies virus because people who have no previous trapping experience are prone to making a mistake and coming into contact with the raccoon when it is inside a live cage trap. Raccoons can stick their hands out of these traps at times and can grab or claw the persons leg. It is not recommended that homeowners attempt raccoon removal from the attic, leave that job to the professionals.
Canine distemper is another common disease from raccoons. Interestingly enough, canine distemper has almost similar symptoms to those of rabies in raccoons. However, this disease mostly affects pets with dogs being the most vulnerable to the disease. Canine distemper is very similar to rabies as the symptoms of this disease mimic some of the symptoms with rabies, which are disorientation, walking in circles, and appearing to be staying in one particular area over a long period of time. This explains why it is important to have your pets vaccinated at least twice a year, particularly if your home is close to an area where raccoons are common and you let your dogs outside in the back yard.
Raccoon droppings can at times carry raccoon roundworm scientifically known as Baylisascaris procyonis & Baylisascaris columnaris. These parasitic worms found in raccoon feces poses a great health risk to people owing to the nature of the symptoms that accompany its infection to humans. The egg spores from the worms are microscopic in nature and thus become airborne. This means that people can unknowingly breathe in the spores into the body thus being infected. The danger of the raccoon roundworm infection is that the worm affects the central nervous systems.
It is common knowledge that any interference with the central nervous systems can cause massive structural and functional damages to the body. The egg spores from the worm can live in the body for many years as dry pods. This means that an individual can carry the eggs for a very long time only for the worms to manifest themselves when you least expect to. In children, there is an even greater health risk in that children bodies have a weak immune system which implies that any health effects from the raccoons roundworms can cause massive health damages to the body.
The presence of raccoons roundworms in the body has in the past caused permanent blindness meaning that the disease is even more damaging than most raccoon diseases. It has been suggested that Albenzadole can be used to cure raccoon roundworms. However, the effectiveness of the drug is still subject to further tests. Rather than having to deal with speculative medication, just avoiding coming into contact with raccoon feces is the best way of preventing raccoon roundworms. You should seek a medical evaluation if you believe you came into contact with raccoon roundworms.
Another disease associated with raccoons is Giardia lamblia. Giardia lamblia is a protozoan that causes diarrhea and is mainly transmitted through water or food that has been contaminated by raccoon excrement. There are also a host of other parasites that raccoons carry including the common fleas and lice that can be a nuisance to both humans and pets. It is common that if you have a raccoon living in your attic, your pets are more likely to get fleas even when such pets have no history of having fleas. If you previously had a raccoon infestation, that could be the source of the fleas on your pets.
As the world keeps evolving, so does the nature of health challenges that people face when they come into contact with wild animals. For this reason, it is important to be extra vigilant when handling such animals. There are a section of people who tend to domesticate raccoons as pets. The problem with having a raccoon as a pet is that there is no really controlling the movement of the animal. The raccoon is essentially a wild animal and it will crawl through garbage and waste picking all forms of infections and germs and once back in the house, you are staring at about a dozen disease infections carrying creature. It's better to know this risks of raccoon diseases before you have any interaction with raccoons.