The town is on alert after rabies was found in a skunk this week, the North Andover Board of Health announced Friday.
On Wednesday, a resident on Breckinridge Road called North Andover Police and told them there was a skunk outside behaving strangely. The skunk reportedly had some interaction with the family's dog, but not with any people.
Animal Control located the skunk, euthanized it and had it tested for rabies.
Rabies is a neurological disease most often spread through biting or scratching. Rabies is fatal.
"The Health Department urges residents to consider all mammals potential carriers of the rabies virus," Health Department Director Susan Sawyer wrote in a statement. "It is important to avoid any contact with any wild animal, especially raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes."
Make sure your pets have their rabies vaccines, and keep an eye on them when they're outside.
If you think you may have been exposed to rabies, call a medical professional immediately to be tested.
Symptoms of rabies include fever and headaches followed by disorientation, paranoia, increased salivation, aggression, paralysis and eventually death.
Humans rarely contract rabies, and it is treatable in humans if detected early. About 55,000 people die from rabies each year -- mostly from dog bites -- but the vast majority of them are in Asia and Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Vaccinations of dogs and cats in the United States has kept the disease from spreading to humans through pets.