Worcester County Health Department Investigates Rabid Raccoon Situation in Ocean City PDF Print E-mail
 Ocean City, Md. – Worcester County Health Department confirmed late yesterday afternoon that a raccoon that attacked a person in north Ocean City tested positive for rabies.
 
The health department was initially notified by a citizen on Tuesday morning about an aggressive raccoon near Northside Park that attacked one person.  It was later learned that two more people were charged by what authorities believe is the same raccoon.
 
Rabies is an ongoing issue in Worcester County and affects local wildlife. The animals most frequently confirmed with rabies in the county are raccoons, followed by foxes, skunks, groundhogs and cats.
 
Any person, pet or other animal that may have had contact with this or other rabies suspect wildlife may be at risk of a rabies exposure.  To report any contact with or exposure to this raccoon, call the Worcester County Health Department at 410-632-1100 or 410-352-3234.  Any potential exposures should be reported immediately so that a risk assessment can be done.   
 
If a pet has had contact with a wild or suspect animal, contact your veterinarian and the health department.  Wounds found on an outdoor pet from an unwitnessed encounter should be treated as a possible rabies exposure.  Appropriate management for your pet will be determined and currently vaccinated animals should be reboostered after exposure.
 
Reports of sick acting, aggressive wildlife or strays should be reported immediately so law enforcement can assess the situation and contain the suspect animal and minimize other exposure to pets or persons.  Suspect rabid animals should then be made available for testing by the health department, where warranted.   
 
The health department recommends the following tips to protect your pets and family from rabies exposure:
 
o   Vaccinate pets and keep those vaccinations current.  Maryland law requires vaccination against rabies for all dogs, cats and ferrets over 4 months of age.  Rabies vaccinations (shots) have limited time of protection, so citizens should verify that their pets are CURRENTLY protected. 
 
o   Do not feed pets outdoors.  Pet food, even the odor of it, in empty containers and on the ground draws wildlife.  While looking for food is normal behavior for raccoons and foxes particularly in the spring when there are young to be fed, these animals may return to areas they frequent if they become rabid. 
 
o   Secure trash cans and dumpster lids for the same reason outlined above.  Wild animals forage for food and minimizing food sources will discourage wildlife from coming to your property.
 
o   Remove strays from the community.  Stray cats are of particular concern, as they are competing for food with wildlife and have more opportunity for exposure to rabid wildlife, such as raccoons.  Many of the fights with raccoons go unwitnessed, and are only noted after the cat becomes rabid.  Cats are the most frequently identified rabid domestic animal.
 
o   Report immediately to local law enforcement or animal control, any abnormally behaving or aggressive wild animal or stray, particularly if contact to humans or pets is imminent or has already occurred.  A response can be made to the scene and assessment done of the animal’s behavior.  DO NOT TOUCH bare-handed any pet that has fought with a wild or suspect rabid animal. Determination will be made as to the disposition of the offending animal and the need for rabies testing.

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WCHD News

Salisbury, MD. – Dorchester, Somerset, Sussex, Wicomico and Worcester counties invite 
the public to Emergency Preparedness Night on August 23rd at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
 
The Delmarva Shorebirds will play against the Asheville Tourists at 7:05 p.m.
Representatives from local health departments, emergency management agencies, and 
volunteer organizations will host exhibit booths promoting emergency preparedness 
before and during the baseball game. 
 
Come out to the ballpark to support the Shorebirds and learn how you can be better 
prepared for life’s curve balls. 
 
The event is co-sponsored by the health departments and emergency management offices 
of Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties, Ocean City and the Maryland
and Delaware Offices of Emergency Management. 
 
Snow Hill, Maryland- August 1, 2014.  Get fit, lose weight, and improve your health with certified lifestyle coaches through group sessions beginning August 25th in Snow Hill.  The Lifestyle Balance Program is a year-long, healthy eating, physical activity, and weight loss program that has been proven effective in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, assisting in weight loss and maintenance of a healthy body weight, and decreasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.  
Read more...
 
Baltimore, MD (August 11, 2014) --State and local officials have been working since last year to prepare Maryland parents and schools for new school immunization requirements for students entering kindergarten and 7th grade this fall.  All kindergartners must have had two chickenpox (varicella) vaccinations.  All 7th graders must receive a pertussis booster (Tdap) and dose of meningitis vaccines.  School officials and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) are urging parents to make sure their child is appropriately immunized against these diseases prior to the start of school.  Children may be excluded from school if they do not have these vaccinations.
“We have spent the past year helping parents and schools prepare for these school immunization requirements,"  said Dr. Laura Herrera, Deputy Secretary for DHMH Public Health Services.  "We want to be sure all Maryland children start the school year with up-to-date vaccinations and are ready to learn.”
Immunizations are one of public health’s greatest triumphs.  With the exception of safe water, no other health strategy-- not even the creation of antibiotics--has had such a tremendous effect on reducing disease.  Despite the availability of safe and effective immunizations, thousands of cases of vaccine-preventable diseases occur in the United States every year.  Consider the following facts about varicella, pertussis and meningitis: 
 
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that can be spread before a person knows they have the disease.
Chickenpox can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia and brain damage.
One out of five people who get meningococcal meningitis experience serious complications, such as the loss of limb(s), permanent hearing loss, or mental impairment.
In recent years, adolescents (11-18 yrs) and adults (19 yrs and older) have accounted for an increasing proportion of pertussis cases. 
Infants who are at highest risk for complications and death due to pertussis are often infected by older siblings, parents or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease.
 
In preparation for the new requirements, local health departments are holding special back-to-school clinics throughout the state.  Parents should call their doctor or local health department to learn if their child needs any of the school-required vaccinations and make arrangements to receive the missing vaccines so their child will not be excluded from school.
 


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