Rabid raccoon found in College Park for 2nd time in the past month

For the second time in the past few weeks, Prince George’s County officials say a rabid raccoon was found in College Park, Maryland, last Tuesday. They’re cautioning residents who were possibly exposed to get in contact with the health department.

The sick animal was spotted less than half a mile away from where a rabid raccoon was captured by health officials early last month.

The latest raccoon was located in the 9500 block of 50th Place on April 23 between 1-1:30 p.m. and looked “very ill and weak,” according to the Prince George’s County Health Department.

Two days later, it tested positive for rabies, Maryland’s health department confirmed on Tuesday.

Health officials are asking people for who might have been in contact with the raccoon, or who know someone that was possibly in contact, from April 13-23 to call the county health department at 301-583-3751.

“Rabies is a life-threatening disease that is prevented by starting post-exposure treatment as soon as possible,” said Dr. Matthew D. Levy, Prince George’s County health officer, in a news release. “The best way to prevent exposure to rabies is to avoid contact with unfamiliar animals and ensure household pets are vaccinated for rabies.”

In the earlier case, a sick raccoon that turned up in the 5200 block of Iroquois Street on April 11 later tested positive for rabies.

In February, health officials also found a rabid raccoon in Hyattsville.

People or animals can get rabies through an infected animal’s saliva, typically from a bite or scratch, according to Prince George’s County health officials.

If exposed to a rabid animal, officials recommend you get four doses of the rabies vaccine within a 14-day period to prevent disease.

About 900 Maryland residents are treated to prevent rabies each year after being exposed to a rabid animal, or an animal that’s possibly rabid, the county’s health department said.

Check out Maryland’s health department’s website for information about how to respond after rabies exposure.

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Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

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