A rabid raccoon has been found in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and health officials are warning residents who may have been in contact with it or two dogs who were exposed.
The Prince George’s County Health Department said in a statement Tuesday that the raccoon was captured after having had “a possible encounter” with two stray dogs — a black-and-white male pit bull and a brown female pit bull — on or around Jan. 17 in the 6100 block of Kolb Street in Fairmount Heights, a couple of blocks west of Addison Road and north of the Fairmount Heights police station.
The raccoon was captured and tested positive for rabies last Wednesday. The male pit bull was picked up by someone, the health department said; the female is still loose.
If you or any of your pets may have been exposed to the raccoon or the two dogs, the health department is asking you to call them at (301) 583-3750, or (240) 508-5774 after 4:30 p.m. or on weekends and holidays. They also want to hear from you if you live in the neighborhood and your pet dies in the next four months.
“Rabies is often a life-threatening disease; however, it is highly preventable by beginning post-exposure treatment immediately following exposure. Treatment is determined by the type of animal contact and patient assessment,” said Prince George’s County Health Officer Dr. Ernest Carter.
Rabies is very contagious through saliva, the health department said, and is “always fatal in humans once symptoms develop.”