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Oakland County has confirmed a case of rabies in a dead skunk in Southfield, the health officials announced Thursday.

The animal was found north of 10 Mile and south of Lincoln Road between Southfield and Greenfield roads, the county health division said in a statement.

"It has been reported that multiple dead skunks were recently found in this area but were not tested for rabies," the release said.

Anyone who spots other dead wild animals in that area is asked to call the Oakland County Health Division at (248) 858-1286. Residents are urged to stay away from wild animals such as skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, as well as stray cats and dogs.

"Avoid stray, wild and dead animals to protect yourself against rabies,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “Rabies is present in our communities. People and their pets need to be careful and avoid encounters with unfamiliar animals.”

The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and spread through bites or scratches, health officials said.

To protect against rabies, residents are urged to:

•Have pets vaccinated regularly

•Avoid handling stray, wild or dead animals

•Call local animal control experts for help if an animal is acting strangely, such as having problems swallowing or moving, excessive drool and biting at everything

•Keep pets indoors or supervised to limit their exposure to wild animals 

•Use a leash when walking dogs or keep them in a fenced-in yard.

•Do not feed pets or put water for them outside

•Keep garbage securely covered to avoid luring wild or stray animals.

If a pet owner or their pet is bitten by any wild animal, they should immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water, and seek medical or veterinary attention.  To report an animal bite, call the health division at (248) 858-1286.

More information about rabies can be found on the health division’s website at oakgov.com/health or by contacting a nurse on call 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at (800) 848-5533.

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