For the sixth consecutive year, the Harford County Health Department is partnering with the 4 Paws Spa and Training Center Inc. and international rabies experts to recognize World Rabies Day.
Through its low cost rabies vaccination clinic to be held on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m., the health department wishes increase community awareness about rabies and the importance of pet vaccinations. The event will take place at the 4 Paws Spa and Training Center facility at 121-A Industry Lane in the Forest Hill.
"We are delighted that this important partnership with the Health Department continues and that low cost rabies vaccinations can be provided again this year," Robin Greenwood, owner, 4 Paws Spa and Training Inc., said.
Veterinarians at the health department-sponsored clinic will offer a limited number of rabies vaccination for dogs, cats and ferrets for $5 per animal, providing these pets protection from the dreaded disease. In addition to the vaccinations, the health department also will make available important public health information about rabies, Lyme disease awareness and emergency preparedness and planning for pet owners, as well as $3 off on "wash and dry" self-service for pet owners through 4 Paws Spa and Training Center.
Health Officer Susan Kelly reminds the public that Maryland law requires dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies, and further stresses the importance to pet owners of protecting their pets against this deadly viral disease.
"We cannot afford to let our guard down since the rabies virus is ever-present in wildlife, which can expose our pets and possibly our family members. Having a current rabies vaccination can eliminate the need for your pet to be euthanized or endure a very difficult six month isolation period should it have contact with known rabies vectors like raccoons, foxes and bats," Kelly said.
The impact of rabies on public health is prevalent:
•55,000 deaths annually occur worldwide, equaling approximately one person every 10 minutes;
•Approximately 7,000 cases of animal rabies are reported annually in the U.S.; mostly wildlife, they can expose humans or pets to rabies;
•One to three cases of human rabies are reported in the U.S. per year;
•Every year, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 U.S. residents are potentially exposed to rabies, requiring costly and uncomfortable human rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. Post exposure treatment requires administration of Human Rabies Immune Globulin (HRIG) and four vaccinations over the course of two weeks, costs of which might not be covered by health insurance; and
•Early in 2013, a Maryland man became the state's first fatal case of rabies in nearly 40 years, having contracted the infection from a kidney transplant. Prior to this, the last reported case of human rabies in Maryland was in 1976 as the result of an exposure to an infected bat.
Locally, between Jan. 1 and Sept. 1 of this year, the health department has identified 15 rabies positive animals, including nine raccoons, three cats and three bats.
For more information about this event or this topic, visit http://www.harfordcountyhealth.com or contact the Harford County Health Department, Rabies and Vector Control Program, 410-877-2315. Other online informational resources include: http://www.harfordcountyhealth.com/rabies, http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/Epidemiology/Epidemiology.htm#Wild%20Animals and http://www.worldrabiesday.org.