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Anne Arundel County Health Officials Baiting Raccoons With Rabies Vaccine

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(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

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ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)– Rabid raccoons can be a big problem in Anne Arundel County.

Monique Griego has more on how health department leaders are doing whatever they can to curb the disease.

“We get a lot of wildlife right in here,” said Anne Arundel County resident Barbara Dodge.

Dodge is used to dealing with wild animals at her home.

“The raccoons come in constantly, take food out. I see them all the time,” Dodge said.

But raccoons aren’t just a nuisance, they can also be dangerous. The cute and furry critters are the number one carrier of rabies.

“Rabies in wild animals can be transmitted to domestic animals and then to humans,” said Dr. Joseph Horman of the Anne Arundel County Health Department.

To reduce the disease’s spread, teams from the county’s health department are once again baiting areas with vaccine. The bait is made up of a fishy substance they put inside a briquette. Once a raccoon eats it, they should become vaccinated for rabies.

“We’re reducing exposure to humans, as well as their pets,” Horman said.

The teams distribute the bait countywide. This year, Dodge called to request bait in her area, but wasn’t sure the teams would show.

In 1997, the number of rabid raccoons peaked at 96. Since the program started in 1997, that number has slowly been reduced. So far this year, there’s only been two.

Dodge says knowing the baits are out there is a huge relief.

“We walk through woods, take hikes through woods,” she said. “Just make me feel more comfortable.”

Health department leaders say there has also been one report of a rabid cat in Anne Arundel County.

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