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Fourth 2017 Rabies Case Announced

Oct 31, 2017 | Environmental Health, Press Releases

Environmental Health Services of the Garrett County Health Department announces the fourth case of laboratory confirmed rabies in the county for 2017. A skunk from the northern end of the county was submitted to the Maryland Department of Health laboratory and was confirmed positive for rabies on October 27, 2017.

The individuals at the property witnessed an altercation between a skunk and a domesticated duck. The witness was able to immediately euthanize the skunk. Directly after the incident, four individuals handled the wounded duck. Although rabies can only occur in mammals, the individuals may have been exposed to the rabies virus when coming into contact with the duck. Any abrasion or broken skin on the individual’s hands allowed for exposure and transmission of the rabies virus from the skunk’s saliva on the duck to the handlers. Due to the exposure with a laboratory confirmed rabid skunk, all four individuals who handled the duck directly after the incident are receiving rabies post exposure treatment.

It is important to remember that if your pet or domesticated animal is exposed to a wild animal, do not handle your pet within two hours after contact. If it is necessary to handle your pet, wear protective gloves and immediately wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. It is also important to know that in an event where the situation requires a wild animal to be euthanized for the collection and submission of rabies testing, the animal’s brain must be fully intact for testing.

Persons with questions regarding rabies may call Environmental Health Services at 301-334-7760.

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