An Ohio Department of Health Laboratory report dated Wednesday confirmed a raccoon testing positive for the rabies virus. The raccoon was collected by Mahoning County Public Health in Northwest Boardman.

This sparked a reminder from the organization all residents to protect themselves, as well as their pets from coming in contact with wildlife and offered tips on how you can prevent your pet and yourself from getting rabies.

Firstly, make sure your pet is up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Rabies vaccinations can be obtained from your local veterinarian. 

In addition if your pet has had an encounter with a wild animal in the past few days, seek veterinary attention immediately and report any bite incidents to your local health department.

If you see a sick, lethargic or confused animal, do not approach it and instead contact animal control or your local law enforcement agency. 

Director of Environmental Health for Mahoning County Public Health, Colton Masters adds that you should refrain from feeding or playing with wild animals.

Masters also adds that you should feed your pets indoors and make sure your trash can lids are secured to avoid attracting wildlife to your property.

If you find a sick or dead raccoon, skunk or fox that is not decayed, do not interact with it and instead contact your local health department.

The signs and symptoms of rabies can vary based on the animal, the viral strain and the stage of the virus. Symptoms such as twitching, uncontrollable muscle movements, disorientation, aggression, difficulty walking or moving and paralysis are common with infected animals.

Rabies is spread through direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth) with Saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal.

That's why it's extremely important that anyone who encounters a possibly infected animal seeks medical attention right away.

Prompt treatment is the key to preventing rabies in humans.