A recent rabies exposure in Laurel, Maryland has prompted local health officials to issue an alert. Community members are being urged to take animal safety tips serious.
A stray kitten scratched and bit people in Laurel on or around June 24, 2017. The incident occurred near the 9000 block of Cherry lane. Witnesses described the animal as a “brown tabby domestic short haired kitten with distinctive dark strips and dots.” Bite wounds appeared to be on the kitten’s body.
The kitten was transported to a nearby veterinarian clinic, where it was treated and tested for rabies. On June 27, 2017, the veterinarian confirmed that the kitten had rabies. So far this year, a total of 12 cats have tested positive for rabies in Maryland.
“Rabies is a serious disease transmitted in the saliva of infected animals and is nearly always fatal without preventive treatment. While the disease can be preventing following exposure to a rabid animal with the proper post-exposure prophylaxis and wound care, it is imperative this treatment begin as soon as possible,” said Dr. Jacquelyn Duva-Harvey, Deputy Health officer of the Prince George’s County Health Department. “The decision to give prophylaxis to a person exposed to a rabid animal depends on the type of contact the individual had with the animal. Public health and healthcare personnel will make the final decision based on assessment of the patient.”
Prince George’s County Health Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating anyone who may have come into contact with the kitten between June 10th and June 25th. The initial victim or victims are being treated with rabies post-exposure prophylaxis – at the beginning of the series a single dose of rabies immunoglobulin is administered, followed by four doses of rabies vaccine, which is administered over 14 days.
In Maryland, an estimated 900 people are treated with rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.
If you or someone you know had contact with the said kitten, please contact the Prince George’s County Health Department at 301-583-3750.