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Health Department seeks public’s help identifying others who may have been exposedLARGO, MD—The Prince George’s County Health Department is alerting community members that a rabid groundhog was recently found in Hyattsville, MD.
On or around May 13th, 2020, a groundhog with unknown wounds was found acting strange near the 6900 block of Calverton Dr. in Hyattsville. The groundhog was captured for rabies testing. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) confirmed that the groundhog tested positive for rabies on May 18th. The groundhog was euthanized.
There are no known human exposures at this time, however due to the risk of rabies exposure, the Health Department seeks the public’s help in finding any persons who may have had contact with any groundhogs in the identified area. If you know of any persons or animals that may have had contact with the above groundhog between April 26th and May 18th, please contact the Health Department immediately at 301-583-3750.
“Rabies is often a life-threatening disease; however, it is highly preventable by beginning post-exposure treatment immediately following exposure. Treatment is determined by the type of animal contact and patient assessment,” said Dr. Ernest Carter, Prince George’s County Health Officer. “Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal and is easily transmissible through a bite of an infected animal. The best method to eliminate the risk of rabies exposure is to avoid contact with unfamiliar animals. We encourage community members to report any unusual or erratic animal behavior they notice and to avoid handling and feeding any unknown animals in their community.”
When a person is bitten or exposed to the saliva of a rabid animal, the disease is prevented by administering four doses of rabies vaccine over a 14-day period, and a dose of rabies immunoglobulin given at the beginning of treatment. Each year, approximately 900 Marylanders receive preventive treatment after exposure to a rabid or potentially rabid animal.
To prevent your exposure to rabies:
If you are bitten by or exposed to an animal that may be rabid, you should take the following steps:
To learn more about rabies in Maryland, including rabies surveillance statistics and efforts to prevent and control the disease, please visit the MDH website https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/OIDEOR/CZVBD/Pages/rabies.aspx.