Raccoon Found In Anne Arundel County Park Tests Positive For Rabies

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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PASADENA, Md. (WJZ) — A rabies case has surfaced in an Anne Arundel County park. An infected raccoon was found.

Alex DeMetrick reports health experts are warning people to be cautious around wild and stray animals.

Raccoons long ago bridged the divide from woods to backyards. Now close encounters with rabid ones are found on YouTube.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and nervous system. Raccoons are among the most commonly infected species. A bite, scratch, or contact with saliva passes the virus.

On Monday, an infected raccoon was found at Fort Smallwood Park in Pasadena near the gatehouse. If a person made contact:

“The first thing you want to do is contact your physician,” said Don Curtain, of Anne Arundel County Health Department. “Make them aware.”

That’s exactly what Bud Eyler did this past summer in Frederick County, when a rabid fox attacked him in his yard.

“I went in the Fourth of July and got two shots,” said Eyler. “And then Sunday morning I got five more shots and went in yesterday and got one shot.”

But what saves a human from death is not an option for infected animals. All mammals are vulnerable.

In Anne Arundel County this year, there have been 21-rabid raccoons, 10 bats, two groundhogs, and one cat. It’s an increase from last year, for a total of 34 confirmed rabies cases.

“Rabies does run in cycles,” Curtain said. “We might be seeing a peak right now. It also could be the raccoon population is greater in the last couple of years.”

The best defense against the virus:

“Not coming into contact with any wild animals,” Curtain said. “Stay away from any stray animals.”

And vaccinate pets.

Time is critical should a human be exposed to rabies. For treatment to be effective, it must be started as soon as possible.

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