by GEOFF FOX
The Washington County Health Department has confirmed rabies in a kitten attacked by racoons located on Big Pool Road between Fort Frederick Road and Gehr Road in Big Pool.
In a press release, Health Department officials said there are known human exposures in the vicinity reported at this time. Exposure is defined as a bite, scratch, or contact of saliva from an infected animal with a mucous membrane, such as the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Health Department personnel have contacted individuals associated with the rabid kitten and want to advise residents in the vicinity of the situation and urge caution when dealing with racoons and other unknown animals.
If you live in the vicinity of Big Pool Road, and you have, or know of anyone who might have had, any possible human or animal exposure, the Health Department asks that you call the Health Department – Environmental Health at 240-313-3400, Washington County Humane Society/Animal Control at 301-733-2060, or Washington County Health Department – Nursing at 240-313-3290.
Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the nervous system; it is predominantly seen in racoons, bats, and skunks, as well as in domestic animals like cats and dogs.
County residents are reminded rabies has been well established in Maryland since 1983, and that all wild or unknown animals should be avoided whenever whenever possible since the possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere and anytime.
Pet owners should remember the best way to protect themselves, their families, and their pets is to keep their pets and any other animals with which they come into routine contact up-to-date on rabies vaccination.