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Rabid raccoons found in Sykesville, Taneytown, with one person bitten, health department says

A rabid raccoon bit someone in Sykesville, and another rabid yet “lethargic” raccoon was spotted in Taneytown, according to a news release.

An “active and aggressive” raccoon entered a Sykesville home and bit someone near the north end of Main Street by Wilson Avenue, according to a Wednesday release from the Carroll County Health Department. The victim must undergo “post-exposure treatment,” the release states.

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In Taneytown, a “lethargic and non-aggressive” raccoon came out of a wooded area about a quarter-mile from the traffic circle on Old Taneytown Road, according to the release.

Both raccoons tested positive for rabies, the release reads.

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People in those areas who interacted with either of the raccoons, or have children or pets that interacted with the raccoons, should contact the health department at 410-876-1884, the release states.

“Rabies exposure occurs through bites and scratches or saliva from an infected animal getting into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound,” Joe Mancuso, rabies program manager at the health department, said in the release. “We want to be sure that anyone who may have been bitten, scratched, or exposed to saliva by either of these raccoons contact the Health Department.”

Rabies is an “urgent” issue, but not an emergency, and can be treated several days after exposure, according to the release.

“Observe wildlife and animals you don’t know from a distance, and keep your pets vaccinated,” Mancuso said in the release. “The Health Department offers two low-cost rabies vaccination clinics each year to help county residents keep their pets vaccinated.”

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Rabies occurs in animals such as feral cats, skunks, foxes and bats, though raccoons are the most common carrier in Maryland, according to the release.

The release offered several safety tips to avoiding rabid animals:

  • ​Do not approach, handle, or feed wild or stray animals.
  • Have your dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated against rabies, and keep their vaccinations up-to-date. The health department’s next low-cost rabies vaccination clinic will be on April 5, 2020, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Ag Center in Westminster.
  • Do not leave pets outside unattended or allow them to roam free.
  • Cover garbage cans tightly and do not leave pet food outside.
  • Teach children to stay away from wild animals and any animals they do not know.
  • Prevent bats from entering your home by using window screens and chimney caps. Bats found in the home should be safely collected, if possible, and tested for rabies.
  • If a wild or stray animal is sick, injured, or acting strangely and is in your living space, call animal control at 410-848-4810.
  • If you or your pet have been bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal, wash the area with soap and water for several minutes. Keep your pet away from other people and pets. Then call your physician or veterinarian and contact the health department.

More information about rabies can be found at https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/Pages/rabies.aspx.

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