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Local health officials are warning community members about a recent rabies exposure in the community and urging community members to remember important animal safety tips.
LARGO, MD—Prince George’s County Health Department and local health officials are alerting community members to a recent rabies exposure in Laurel, MD. On or around June 24, 2017, a stray kitten bit and scratched individuals near the 9000 block of Cherry Lane in Laurel. The kitten is described as a brown tabby domestic short haired kitten with distinctive dark stripes and dots. The kitten appeared to have bite wounds and was transported to a local veterinarian for treatment. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) confirmed that the kitten tested positive for rabies on June 27th, 2017. This year, 12 cats in the state of Maryland have tested positive for rabies.
"Rabies is a serious disease transmitted in the saliva of infected animals and is nearly always fatal without preventive treatment. While the disease can be prevented following exposure to a rabid animal with the proper post-exposure prophylaxis and wound care, it is imperative this treatment begin as soon as possible," said Dr. Jacquelyn Duval-Harvey, Deputy Health Officer of the Prince George’s County Health Department. "The decision to give prophylaxis to a person exposed to a rabid animal depends on the type of contact the individual had with the animal. Public health and healthcare personnel will make the final decision based on assessment of the patient."
Due to the risk of exposure to rabies, the Prince George’s County Health Department seeks the public’s help in finding any persons who may have had contact with the kitten. The initial victim and persons potentially exposed to the kitten have begun rabies post-exposure treatment. If you know of any persons or animals that may have had contact with the above kitten between June 10th and June 25th, please contact the Health Department immediately at 301-583-3750.
When a person is bitten or exposed to the saliva of a rabid animal, the disease is prevented with a four dose rabies vaccine series administered over a 14 day period and a dose of rabies immunoglobulin given at the beginning of the series (rabies post-exposure prophylaxis). Each year, approximately 900 Marylanders receive preventive treatment after exposure to a rabid or potentially rabid animal.
To prevent your exposure to rabies:
If you are bitten by or exposed to an animal that may be rabid, you should take the following steps:
To learn more about rabies in Maryland, including rabies surveillance statistics and efforts to prevent and control the disease, please visit the DHMH website.