Rabies On The Rise in Worcester County - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Rabies On The Rise in Worcester County

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WORCESTER CO., Md. - It’s business as usual in Northside Park in Ocean City, but earlier this week -- a scary scene unfolded. A rabid raccoon was on the loose in broad daylight.

Officials say a raccoon came out of the water and attacked a member of a landscaping crew working near the park.

It’s not the first for the year – in fact, it’s the seventeenth confirmed case of rabies in 2013. Last year, there were 19 total cases in Worcester County.

“I never thought that that would be the case,” said Al Jordan. He walks his dog Poochie in the park, and was surprised to hear a rabid animal could be so close to home. 

Worcester County health officials say the area is on track for a higher number of cases, after four years of a steady drop. The county worked collaboratively with police and animal control to get the numbers down when they hit 52 cases countywide in 2009.

“One of the things we do is offer rabies vaccines at a discounted rate,” said Dr. Andrea Mathias, Deputy Health officer with Worcester County Health Department. “We can’t eliminate rabies entirely, but there’s a public outreach on letting people know what to do and how they can help.”

She adds they can do that by keeping domestic animals vaccinated, contacting animal control when there’s an animal suspected of having rabies, and reporting any exposure to the disease to the county health department.

But despite the scare, some aren't letting it ruin their best laid plans for fun in the sun.

“They got it it's gone, I think it should be okay,” said Mike Chirdon, in town on vacation with his family. “I'm not worried about anything. If you see a raccoon act goofy, stay away from it.”

It's business as usual in Northside Park in Ocean City, but earlier this week -- a scary scene unfolded. A rabid raccoon was on the loose in broad daylight.

 

Officials say a raccoon came out of the water and attacked a member of a landscaping crew working near the park.

 

It's not the first for the year – in fact, it's the seventeenth confirmed case of rabies in 2013. Last year, there were 19 total cases in Worcester County.

 

"I never thought that that would be the case," said Al Jordan. He walks his dog Poochie in the park, and was surprised to hear a rabid animal could be so close to home.  

 

Worcester County health officials say the area is on track for a higher number of cases, after four years of a steady drop. The county worked collaboratively with police and animal control to get the numbers down when they hit 52 cases countywide in 2009.

 

"One of the things we do is offer rabies vaccines at a discounted rate," said Dr. Andrea Mathias, Deputy Health officer with Worcester County Health Department. "We can't eliminate rabies entirely, but there's a public outreach on letting people know what to do and how they can help."

 

She adds they can do that by keeping domestic animals vaccinated, contacting animal control when there's an animal suspected of having rabies, and reporting any exposure to the disease to the county health department.

 

But despite the scare, some aren't letting it ruin their best laid plans for fun in the sun.

 

"They got it it's gone, I think it should be okay," said Mike Chirdon, in town on vacation with his family. "I'm not worried about anything. If you see a raccoon act goofy, stay away from it."

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