More Information Rabies is an acute viral infection that can be prevented with a four dose rabies vaccine series administered over a period of 14 days and a dose of rabies immunoglobulin given at the beginning of the series. Each year, about 900 Marylanders receive preventive vaccinations after exposure to a rabid or potentially rabid animal. Animals with rabies often show changes in behavior. Wild animals may act friendly, domestic animals may become aggressive, and animals that are active only at night may appear during the day. Rabid animals may stagger, drool or become paralyzed. The diagnosis of rabies is made by examining brain tissue from the suspected rabid animal. To avoid being exposed to rabies: • Enjoy wildlife from a distance. Do not approach, handle or feed wild or stray 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, especially while traveling. • Cover garbage cans tightly and do not leave pet food outside; this may attract wild and stray animals. • Teach children to stay away from all wild animals or animals they do not know. • Prevent bats from entering your home by using window screens and chimney caps, and close any openings greater than a quarter inch by a half 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.

PRESTON — A raccoon captured in the Preston area has tested positive for rabies.

On Thursday, Dec. 5, a raccoon was seen acting aggressively on Main Street in Preston near the Shore Stop (Valero Gas Station). The raccoon was euthanized and tested positive for the rabies virus, town officials said.

Stacey Pindell, Preston town manager, said rabies usually is spread to humans through the bite of an infected animal or exposure of the infected animal’s saliva to broken skin, as may occur when caring for an injured pet. Rabies is not spread by petting a rabid animal or contact with blood, urine or feces.

The town encourages anyone who had contact or whose pet had contact with this raccoon or other wild animal to call the Caroline County Health Department at 410-479-8045 during work hours or 410-829-5910 after hours.

Staff at the health department can determine if there has been an exposure to rabies. If there has been no human exposure to the animal but there are concerns about wildlife in the area, call the Department of Natural Resource nuisance animal hotline toll free at 877-463-6497, or during after-hours or weekends at 800-628-9944. The DNR website is http://dnr2.maryland.gov/wild life/Pages/plants_wildlife/nw.aspx.

Caroline County Health Officer Scott T. LeRoy said: “Rabies in humans can be prevented by avoiding animal exposure altogether, but rabies shots can be given soon after a bite or other exposure or to prevent rabies. Individuals who have frequent contact with animals through their occupation or hobbies and recreational activities can obtain preexposure rabies vaccinations from their health care provider as needed to reduce the risk of rabies following exposure.”

If a person has been bitten or exposed to the saliva of an animal suspected of having rabies, call 911.

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