Rabid Raccoon Found in Gaithersburg
UPDATED on 7/19
Gaithersburg officials are alerting residents of a second raccoon that has tested positive for the rabies virus. According to city officials, the second case was reported on July 16 in the 100 block of East Deer Park Drive.
City officials report that a dead raccoon found around 5 p.m. on June 27, in a resident’s yard at the 200 block of East Deer Park Drive in Gaithersburg, has tested positive for the rabies virus.
According to a city report, the raccoon had been in an altercation with the resident’s two dogs.
If you were in direct contact with a raccoon in this area over the past several weeks, city officials are advising that you contact the Montgomery County Health Department immediately at 240.777.1755. If your pet had any contact with a raccoon in this area in the last several weeks, contact Gaithersburg Animal Control at 301.258.6343.
City officials said the only way to prevent rabies in your pet is through regular vaccinations. It is important that all dogs and cats are properly vaccinated against this disease. If your pet is not currently vaccinated, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an appointment. Also, please note that pursuant to Section 4-8(a) of the City Code, all dogs and cats must be licensed with the city of Gaithersburg.
For more information and for a list of summer rabies clinics please contact the city of Gaithersburg Office of Animal Control at 301.258.6343 or visit the city’s website at www.gaithersburgmd.gov/animal.
Every year in Montgomery County, an average of 50 animals are confirmed to be rabid by laboratory analysis. While most of these animals are wild animals such as raccoons or foxes, there have been several rabid cats in Montgomery County over the last five years.
Rabies can be fatal to humans or animals if they are exposed and do not receive treatment.
Steps to Prevent Rabies
Only approach domestic animals that are known to you.
Avoid all contact with wild animals.
Make sure that your dogs and cats have a current rabies vaccination and County license.
Keep dogs under control or on a leash. Keep cats safely indoors.
Do not treat raccoons or other wild animals as if they were pets. Do not leave food out for raccoons, including leftover dog food, table scraps and large bird seeds.
Close off all entrances to chimneys, attics, garages or sheds which can provide a nesting site for raccoons. Install heavy 26-guage wire screen on chimney openings and flues.
Use metal garbage cans that have secure lids. Plastic cans should have snap covers, but are not as secure. Ammonia can be sprayed or poured into plastic garbage bags to discourage raccoons from feeding.
Most human exposures to rabies occur when people attempt to rescue sick or hurt wild animals that, upon testing, are rabid.
Another frequent indirect exposure occurs when people handle their pets without gloves after the pet has had an encounter with a wild animal. Rabies virus in saliva on the pet’s fur can be transmitted through a break in the person’s skin for up to 2 hours after the saliva has been deposited on the fur.
If you see a wild animal exhibiting abnormal behavior in Montgomery County, call the Division of Animal Control at 240.773.5960 or 240.773.5925. After hours, call 240.773.5900.
Avoid all wild and stray animals, especially RACCOONS!