First Rabies Case of the Year Confirmed for 2018
Environmental Health Services of the Garrett County Health Department reports the first case of laboratory- confirmed rabies in the county for 2018. A dairy calf, submitted from the northern area of the county to the Maryland Department of Health laboratory, was confirmed positive for rabies on January 23, 2018.
The farmer began to notice behavioral changes in the calf on January 17, 2018. After proper examination of the animal, Casselman Veterinary Services euthanized the calf on January 18, 2018. Environmental Health Services of the Garrett County Health Department were notified on January 19, 2018. With the help of the Center for Zoonotic and Vector-borne Diseases of the Maryland Department of Health, it was determined that the animal would be tested for rabies although no known direct exposure to humans had occurred.
Following the laboratory confirmed positive rabies results, seven individuals that routinely worked on the farm and may have had indirect contact with the calf began rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. Environmental Health Services and the Maryland Department of Agriculture will continue to work closely with the farm owner to monitor the farm animals.
All warm-blooded animals are susceptible to being affected by the deadly rabies virus. The rabies virus is only transferred through the saliva of the infected animal. Signs and symptoms may include neurological signs and changes in the behavior of the animal. In this case, the calf began having trouble eating and drinking.
It is important to remember that if your pet is exposed to a wild animal, do not handle your pet within two hours after contact. If it is necessary to handle your pet, you need to wear protective gloves and immediately wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. If you have been bitten by a wild animal that cannot be captured, or if you have been exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies, seek medical treatment immediately.
Pet owners are urged to check the vaccination status of their dogs, cats, and ferrets. All dogs and cats are required, by law, to be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age and can be vaccinated as early as three months. The Garrett County Health Department will hold the first series of low-cost rabies clinics for 2018 in May. All dogs, cats, and ferrets at least three months of age are eligible for vaccination. Persons with questions regarding rabies or rabies clinics should call Environmental Health Services at 301-334-7760 or 301-895-3111.
CONTACT PERSON: Bryce A. Manges, L.E.H.S.