PRESTON — The Maryland Department of Health laboratory has confirmed a positive rabid skunk in the Town of Preston. The skunk was reported to Caroline County Health Department’s Environmental Health Services on Monday, Oct. 4, in the vicinity of the 100 block of Main Street.
Health Department personnel retrieved the dead skunk and sent the animal for rabies testing, which confirmed the animal had rabies.
At this time there are no known human exposures to the rabid animal. Out of an abundance of caution, four cats who may have come in contact with the animal have been placed under a 45-day quarantine.
Contact the Caroline County Health Department immediately if you have had, or may know of anyone who might have had, any possible human or animal exposure to a rabid animal at 410-479-8045. If you have an emergency regarding a potential rabid animal or exposure and are calling after normal business hours, or on the weekend, call 410-829-5910.
An exposure can mean contamination of open wounds, abrasions, mucous membranes, or scratches by potentially contaminated with infectious material from a rabid animal or any penetration of the skin by teeth constitutes a bite exposure. All bites, regardless of body site, represent a potential risk of rabies transmission, but that risk varies with the species of biting animal, the anatomic site of the bite, and the severity of the wound.
Rabies is a serious, but preventable viral disease that attacks the nervous system. It is predominantly seen in raccoons, bats, and skunks, as well as dogs and cats. Mid-Shore residents are reminded that all wild or unknown animals must be avoided whenever possible since the possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere and anytime.
Pet owners should remember that the best way to protect themselves, their families, and their pets is to keep their animals up to date on rabies vaccination. The Health Department regularly offers low-cost rabies clinics to help residents protect their pets.