LEONARDTOWN, MD (April 20, 2021) – The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) reports two animals in the Piney Point area have tested positive for rabies. On April 1, 2021, a fox was collected from the Ball Point Road area, and on April 16, 2021, a raccoon was collected from the Goddards Road area. The test results were confirmed by the State’s laboratory at the Maryland Department of Health in Baltimore.
Rabies is a potentially fatal virus that is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Residents are advised to use caution when approaching wild animals or unknown domesticated animals. Pet owners in the area are advised to examine their animals for bites, scratches, or wounds of unknown origin, and report suspect injuries to the St. Mary’s County Animal Control Office at 301-475-8018.
The following precautions will protect your pets and family members from the threat of rabies:
- Be sure your pet has up-to-date rabies shots. Maryland law requires that all cats, dogs and ferrets four-months and older have current rabies shots. Low-cost rabies clinics are provided by SMCHD and St. Mary’s Animal Welfare League (SMAWL) from March – November.
- Keep pets in your home or yard and walk them on a leash.
- Never approach or touch animals unknown to you.
- Do not feed pets outdoors. Pet food and other food sources such as unsecured garbage cans may attract unwanted and unhealthy animals into your yard.
SMCHD investigates reports of animal bites and, based on the outcome of the investigation, refers the affected person(s) to the hospital’s emergency department or to their primary health care provider for treatment and vaccination. Residents are asked to report any animal exposures involving humans to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office at 301-475-8008.
For more information about rabies and the rabies vaccination clinics, visit the SMCHD website at www.smchd.org/rabies-prevention