Like all wild animals, skunks carry many diseases and disease agents that may be transferable to humans and other animals. These diseases cause skunks to be of public health importance, and with the sudden rise in the number of skunks that coexist with man, the disease incidents are ever-increasing.

Skunks are wild animals that are shy and live far away from humans with limited interaction. However, because of deforestation and urbanization, most part of their home is lost, and they have to live with humans to survive.

The presence of skunks in the human environment exposes man to the diseases that these animals carry, and thus, man is at higher risk of disease contraction. The skunks do not just contaminate food and water with their feces, urine, and activities. They also infect pet and farm animals, contaminate major water sources with helminth eggs from their feces, and cause widespread health crises.

Skunks carry a good number of diseases and pathogens. Some of which are:

· RABIES: Skunks are animal species that are prone to rabies infection. The transmission of rabies is through bites from a rabid skunk or other animal with the virus, and these animals have a high transmission rate of rabies. In skunks, both the dumb and furious forms of rabies are dangerous, and the skunk can easily transmit them through bites or scratches. A rabid skunk has the virus in its saliva and can easily transmit it through any broken skin or mucosal surface. Rabies is a fatal disease because once an animal begins to exhibit nervous signs, there is no cure, and the prognosis is usually very poor. In almost all cases of rabies, the animal or person with the virus dies from the disease after showing clinical signs.

· LEPTOSPIROSIS: This is a common disease of skunks and canids that affects the liver and other essential organs in the body leading to multiple organ failure and death of the animal. Skunks are very prone to this disease and transmit it through their urine. Leptospirosis passes through any open wounds on your skin and causes lysis of red blood cells. It also suppresses immunity and makes it difficult to survive. When you do not detect it promptly or take medication, leptospirosis can easily lead to death due to the involvement of secondary and opportunistic bacteria.

· CANINE DISTEMPER: Another name for this disease is hard pad disease. Canine distemper is a disease that is most common to dogs and causes a hardening of the footpad and nose. Skunks are reservoirs of this disease, and this is really bad for pet owners since dogs are very curious animals that love to play. This makes them easy targets of infection and disease.

· TULAREMIA: Skunks are carriers of this disease that has a zoonotic effect. It affects both animals and man making it a disease of public health importance. In humans, clinical signs and symptoms occur about three to four days after infection. The signs of the disease include muscle pains and weakness, migraines, nausea, incoordination and disorientation, severe fever, and chills. Tularemia can cause liver and kidney damage to patients, meningitis, and stroke if you do not seek medical care in time.

· WORM INFECTION: This is common to all wild animals, and you are likely to have worm infection problems if you have skunks in your yard or home. Skunks pass worm eggs and oocytes in their urine and feces. Sometimes, they even pass out proglottids, which are the gravid parts of worms, and your pet picks this up from feces or debris in the yard or around the house. The worms can also get into the pool or sand, and you are at risk of infection too.

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