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The original item was published from 7/24/2017 9:57:35 AM to 8/5/2017 12:10:03 AM.

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Posted on: July 21, 2017

[ARCHIVED] Alert: Rabid Kitten in Clinton, MD

A rabid cat was captured in Clinton, MD. County officials warn public to avoid handling or feeding stray animals to avoid rabies exposure.

LARGO, MD—Prince George’s County Health Department and local health officials are alerting community members to a recent rabies exposure in Clinton, MD. On or around July 18, 2017, a stray cat bit and scratched an individual near the 8000 block of Bellafonte Lane in Clinton. The cat is described as a white domestic short hair with a calico pattern. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) confirmed that the cat tested positive for rabies on July 19th, 2017. As a precaution, additional cats found in the area were also captured and may be submitted for rabies testing. As of July 19th, 16 cats in the state of Maryland have tested positive for rabies this year.

“Rabies is often a life-threatening disease; however, it is highly preventable by beginning post-exposure treatment immediately following exposure. Treatment is determined by the type of animal contact and patient assessment,” said Pamela B. Creekmur, Health Officer. “Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal and is easily transmissible by an infected animal bite. The best method to eliminate the risk of rabies exposure is to avoid contact with unfamiliar animals. We advise community members to report any unusual or erratic animal behavior they notice and to avoid handling and feeding unknown animals in their community.”

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 confirmed infected cat and additional cats in the identified area. The individual exposed to the infected cat has begun rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. If you know of any persons or animals that may have had contact with the above cat between July 4th and July 18th, 2017 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:

  • Do not approach, handle or feed stray dogs and cats and enforce leash laws.
  • Teach your children not to approach any unfamiliar animals.
  • Have your dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated against rabies and keep the vaccinations up-to-date.
  • Do not leave pets outside unattended or allow them to roam free.
  • Cover garbage cans tightly and do not leave pet food outside; this may attract wild and stray animals.
  • Teach children to stay away from wild animals or animals they do not know.
  • Prevent bats from entering your home by using window screens and chimney caps and by closing any openings greater than ¼ inch by ½ inch. Bats found in the home should be safely collected, if possible, and tested for rabies.
  • Wear gloves when handling an animal if it has been in a fight with another animal. Keep it away from people and other animals and call your veterinarian or local health department to report the animal exposure.

If you are bitten by or exposed to an animal that may be rabid, you should take the following steps:

  • If it is a wild animal, try to trap it only if you can do so safely. If the animal must be killed, try not to damage the head.
  • If it is an owned animal, get the animal owner's name, address, and telephone number.
  • Immediately wash the wound well with soap and water; if available, use a disinfectant to flush the wound.
  • Get prompt medical attention.
  • Immediately report the exposure to your local animal control agency, health department, or police.
  • Consider treatment if a bat was present and exposure cannot be reasonably ruled out (e.g., a sleeping person awakens to find a bat in the room, or an adult sees a bat in the room with a previously unattended child or mentally disabled or intoxicated person).

To learn more about rabies in Maryland, including rabies surveillance statistics and efforts to prevent and control the disease, please visit the DHMH website.

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