Two Confirmed Cases Of Rabies In Worcester County

OCEAN CITY, Md. – Two unrelated cases of rabies were reported in cats in Worcester County this week and dozens of cases of this deadly disease are reported every year.  Vilifying the cats in this case would be off the mark as there is another animal that's likely to blame.

Many different kinds of animals roam Worcester County, some are not so welcome.

“We have a lot of raccoons, pa sum and skunks,” said Berlin resident Denise Mills.

And often these animals can be harboring deadly diseases.

“The primary species that is the reservoir for rabies is raccoons in the state of Maryland,” said Janet Tull, Rabies Coordinator for the Worcester County Health Department.

This week two cats were confirmed to have rabies, but according to experts those cats were victims of the wild.

“It's primarily a disease of wildlife, but because any warm blooded animal including humans can contract rabies, if they're exposed, its important first of all to protect our pets,” said Tull.

Last year, Worcester County saw 46 laboratory confirmed cases of rabies, that's the most of any county in the state of Maryland.  40 of those cases were raccoons.  So far this year there have been 14 confirmed cases.

“I am concerned even with them being vaccinated,” said Mills.  “If they come in contact, are they still protected? What do we need to do from that point on?”

The Worcester County Heath Department has guidelines so you can protect yourself and your family.  They say vaccinate all your pets, including any farm animals.  Report any aggressive wild life to animal control and of course, make sure you keep trash cans and food secure.  Not doing so could make your home a target for wildlife.

More information on how best to protect against rabid animals can be found on the Worcester County Health Department's website at www.worcesterhealth.org.

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