Raccoon ‘zombie’ virus outbreak: What you need to know – National

A ‘zombie’ virus is raging among raccoons. What to know - National

“Raccoons behaving like zombies? Yes, it’s not a plot from a horror movie, but a real-life scenario caused by a virus known as canine distemper virus (CDV). This virus has been wreaking havoc among raccoons in parts of Canada, leaving them acting strangely and posing a potential threat to humans. So, what should you do if you encounter a raccoon that might be infected? Let’s delve into the details and understand the implications of this virus on both wildlife and humans.

Encountering a Distemper Virus-Infected Raccoon:

If you come across a raccoon that exhibits peculiar behavior like staggering, growling, or approaching you aggressively, chances are it may have contracted CDV. It is crucial not to approach the raccoon or try to relocate it on your own. Rather, contacting local authorities, such as the humane society, is the best course of action to prevent further spread of the virus. Remember, these animals are not acting out of malice but are victims of a deadly disease that has altered their behavior significantly.

The Impact on Raccoon Population and Human Safety:

The spread of distemper virus among raccoons has not only affected their population but has also raised concerns about public safety. With infected raccoons becoming more active during the day and displaying aggressive behavior, the risk of human encounters has increased. Moreover, the lack of a vaccination campaign for raccoons means that the virus can continue to spread unchecked in the wildlife population.

The Need for Awareness and Precaution:

While the focus remains on protecting humans from potential harm, it is essential to remember that these raccoons are also victims of circumstances beyond their control. The rise in service calls for sick and injured raccoons underscores the urgency of addressing this issue effectively. By raising awareness about the consequences of CDV and taking necessary precautions, we can create a safer environment for both wildlife and humans.


As we navigate the challenges posed by the distemper virus affecting raccoons in Canada, it is important to approach the situation with compassion and understanding. By working together to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect both wildlife and human populations, we can pave the way for a more harmonious coexistence with the natural world. Let’s remember that every creature deserves our respect and care, even in the face of adversity.”



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