BALTIMORE - (WMAR Staff) - The Baltimore City Health Department is warning the public to be on the look out for potentially rabid animals after three have been found in North Baltimore over the last 20 days.
The animals, two cats and a fox, were all found outside and have been euthanized.
"We are proactively alerting the public because the locations where these three rabid animals were located are in proximity to one another," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot in a statement. "This isn't necessarily a cause for alarm as it is not uncommon for rabies to be present in wildlife, but rather an opportunity for residents to be educated about how they can prevent rabies."
The Health Department advises city residents to not touch or pet stray or unfamiliar animals.
Here is the breakdown of when and where the rabid animals were found:
- June 5: A cat was found in the 300 block of Rossiter Avenue. A resident thought the cat had been hit by a car and transported it to Falls Road Animal Hospital for emergency care. The cat was then taken to a second animal hospital where it was euthanized and submitted to the state public health laboratory for rabies testing.
- June 18: A cat was found lying in a yard in the unit block of Warrenton Road. A resident took the cat to Falls Road Animal Hospital where it was euthanized and sent for rabies testing.
- June 25: A Baltimore City Animal Control Officer picked up a fox that was displaying neurological symptoms (unsteady and dragging itself) in the 1100 block of Bellemore Road. The fox was euthanized at the city animal shelter and sent for rabies testing.
Animal Control officers canvassed each neighborhood in which the rabid animals were found and provided rabies educational information for residents.
According to the Health Department, 55,000 people die worldwide from rabies each year. However, rabies is rare in the United States thanks in large part to pet vaccination laws - less than five cases of human rabies are reported annually and most occur through contact with infected animals.
If you are bitten, scratched or have contact with an animal you believe to be rabid, immediately wash the wound, seek medical attention, and report the incident to the Health Department's Animal Control Program by calling the city's 311 customer service telephone line.
So far in 2013, 15 animals have tested positive for rabies in Baltimore City (7 raccoons, 5 bats, 2 cats and 1 fox). In 2012, 26 animals tested positive for rabies (19 bats and 7 raccoons).