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Distemper Outbreak Among St. Louis County Skunks

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Getty/Jeff J Mitchell

Getty/Jeff J Mitchell

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – You heard about it first on KMOX several weeks ago — a widespread outbreak of distemper among raccoons in St. Louis County.

Bi-State Wildlife Hotline founder & president Angel Wintrode has an update, saying the distemper problem in raccoons is easing up a bit.

However, a new problem has emerged. Wintrode told KMOX that officials are seeing a lot of skunks becoming ill from distemper, especially in south St. Louis County.

“It worries us a bit, because skunks are a rabies vector species,” said Wintrode.

The warning signs for distemper and rabies are remarkably similar — infected animals spotted during daylight hours, appearing to be “drunk” or have trouble keeping their balance, and displaying no fear of people or pets.

“The big difference is that usually by the time you see a skunk with distemper they’re really done, they’re very very sick, they usually can’t move at all.”

While raccoons with distemper have turned up across a wide swath of St. Louis County, the skunk problem has been seen mostly in Wildwood, Oakville, Mehlville, and around Jefferson Barracks Park in South County.

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