MARYLAND (WMAR) -
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has announced the death of a Marylander from a case of rabies, the first since 1976.
This is the first case of human rabies since 1976, and it is not yet known how the person was exposed to the rabies virus.
DHMH is assessing the risk of rabies exposure in those how had direct contact with the adult that died. Normally, an exposure to rabies comes from an infected animals bite, and not from contact with another person.
Over the past 10 years in the U.S., an average of less than 5 human rabies cases have been diagnosed each year. Animals that have been found to be infected with the virus include raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats and other wild animals. Unvaccinated dogs and cats can also become infected.
Last year, 320 animals in Maryland were found to have the rabies virus.