September 28 is the World Health Organization’s World Rabies Day. The goal of the day is to spread awareness about rabies and rabies prevention. In Worcester County, there were 21 laboratory-confirmed cases of rabies in 2018 including in raccoons, a fox, a cat, a skunk, opossum and bat.
In recognition of World Rabies Day the Worcester County Health Departments wants to remind residents:
• If you see a wild animal, such as a raccoon, skunk, fox, groundhog, opossum, or a feral cat behaving in a threatening or obviously sick manner or should your pet be involved in an altercation with one of those animals –report the incident immediately to your local police department or Sheriff’s office.
• Prevent further contact by keeping pets and people away. If a pet or person has already had contact, it is important that the rabies suspect animal be captured for rabies testing. If a pet has had contact, do not touch the pet barehanded. Contact the Health Department immediately for more instructions.
• Avoid feeding wild or feral animals. Leaving food out or creating feeding stations can attract wild animals to an area. According to Maryland State Law, feeding feral cats confers ownership and could leave you liable for the animal.
• Maryland State Law requires all cats, dogs and ferrets over three months old to be vaccinated. The next rabies vaccination clinic in Worcester County will be in October-on October 17 at the Showell Fire Hall and October 18 at the Stockton Fire Hall (5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for both locations). Cost for vaccinations is $5 for residents and $10 for non-residents.
You can learn more about rabies and vaccination clinics by visiting worcesterhealth.org or calling 410-641-9559.