They are omnivores and this means that they consume both plants and animals as part of their diet. Raccoons are considered to be very intelligent animals and studies have proved that they are able to recollect things even after many years. Raccoons are carriers of several diseases which can easily spread to human beings. Most of these sicknesses spread when raccoons bite human beings.
However, there are certain other diseases that can spread even if a raccoon scratches you with its nails. There are also some contagious diseases which spread when human beings come in direct contact with raccoons. Since these sicknesses can be life-threatening, it is important to exercise caution if you happen to come in contact with raccoons.
Roundworm-related infections Raccoons are carriers of roundworms. The eggs of these roundworms are present in the faeces of raccoons. These eggs are blown by the wind and spread to various places. If they are accidently ingested by human beings, they cause great destruction in the body. They attack the nervous system of the body and cause severe problems such as loss of vision and brain damage. In some cases, the person can even go into a coma.
Rabies is one of the most common sicknesses that raccoons spread to human beings. Rabies is caused by a virus and spreads through the saliva of the infected animal. If you get bitten or scratched by an infected raccoon, you can contract rabies. Rabies is a life-threatening condition that must be treated immediately.
Photo Credit: Raccoonguys.com
If it is left untreated, rabies can cause traumatic symptoms such as seizures and hallucinations. The patients often suffer from high fever, which can be very weakening. People must avoid coming in contact with raccoons as far as possible. If a raccoon appears to be ferocious, it is very likely that it is infected with rabies. Such a raccoon must be avoided.
Infected raccoons can transmit viral infections to human beings. If an infected raccoon sneezes in the presence of human beings, the germs spread rapidly in that area. A healthy human being can contract the flu virus from a raccoon in this way. If a human being comes in contact with articles that have been handled by an infected raccoon, the virus infects that person, causing the symptoms of flu. This happens when the person touches his mouth, eyes or nose after touching such articles.
This sickness spreads through the urine that is excreted by raccoons and several other animals. This urine often contaminates water sources such as ponds and lakes. If human beings consume water that has been contaminated by this urine, they contract a disease which is known as leptospirosis.
This disease is caused by leptospira, which is a common bacterium. Mild cases of leptospirosis are accompanied by symptoms such as fever, vomiting and stomach pain. However, severe cases of leptospirosis can even result in meningitis and anaemia.
Photo Credit: Canadiangeographic.ca