Update on Worcester County Health Department’s investigation into rabid raccoon situation in Ocean City

Ocean City, Md. – Worcester County Health Department confirmed late yesterday afternoon that a raccoon that attacked a man in north Ocean City tested positive for rabies.
The health department was initially notified by a citizen on Tuesday morning about an aggressive raccoon near Northside Park that attacked one person.  It was later learned that two more people were charged by what authorities believe is the same raccoon.  The raccoon’s body was sent for testing to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Laboratory.   
 
Rabies is an ongoing issue in Worcester County and affects local wildlife. The animals most frequently confirmed with rabies in the county are raccoons, followed by foxes, skunks, groundhogs and cats.
 
Any person, pet or other animal that may have had contact with this or other rabies suspect wildlife may be at risk of a rabies exposure.  To report any contact with or exposure to this raccoon, call the Worcester County Health Department at 410-632-1100 or 410-352-3234.  Any potential exposures should be reported immediately so that a risk assessment can be done.   
 
If a pet has had contact with a wild or suspect animal, contact your veterinarian and the health department.  Wounds found on an outdoor pet from an unwitnessed encounter should be treated as a possible rabies exposure.  Appropriate management for your pet will be determined and currently vaccinated animals should be reboostered after exposure.
 
Reports of sick acting, aggressive wildlife or strays should be reported immediately so law enforcement can assess the situation and contain the suspect animal and minimize other exposure to pets or persons.  Suspect rabid animals should then be made available for testing by the health department, where warranted.   
 
The health department recommends the following tips to protect your pets and family from rabies exposure:
  
o   Vaccinate pets and keep those vaccinations current.  Maryland law requires vaccination against rabies for all dogs, cats and ferrets over 4 months of age.  Rabies vaccinations (shots) have limited time of protection, so citizens should verify that their pets are CURRENTLY protected. 
 
o   Do not feed pets outdoors.  Pet food, even the odor of it, in empty containers and on the ground draws wildlife.  While looking for food is normal behavior for raccoons and foxes particularly in the spring when there are young to be fed, these animals may return to areas they frequent if they become rabid. 
 
o   Secure trash cans and dumpster lids for the same reason outlined above.  Wild animals forage for food and minimizing food sources will discourage wildlife from coming to your property.
 
o   Remove strays from the community.  Stray cats are of particular concern, as they are competing for food with wildlife and have more opportunity for exposure to rabid wildlife, such as raccoons.  Many of the fights with raccoons go unwitnessed, and are only noted after the cat becomes rabid.  Cats are the most frequently identified rabid domestic animal.
 
 
o   Report immediately to local law enforcement or animal control, any abnormally behaving or aggressive wild animal or stray, particularly if contact to humans or pets is imminent or has already occurred.  A response can be made to the scene and assessment done of the animal’s behavior.  DO NOT TOUCH bare-handed any pet that has fought with a wild or suspect rabid animal. Determination will be made as to the disposition of the offending animal and the need for rabies testing.
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WCHD News

 

(Snow Hill, MD)- The 22nd Annual “Tortoise & Hare Dare” 5K walk/run will be held at 9 am, on Saturday, April 6, with a rain date of April 13, at Pocomoke River State Park-Shad Landing, Snow Hill, Maryland. Registration begins at 8:30 am. This is a FREE event and is Pet-Friendly and will be led by Smokey the Bear. The first 100 runners/walkers to check-in on the day of the event will receive a free commemorative T-shirt. There is no cost to take part in the Tortoise and the Hare Dare. The Worcester County Health Department, Worcester County Department of Recreation & Parks, and Pocomoke River State Park all co-sponsor the 5k.

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(Snow Hill, MD)- The Worcester County Health Department is pleased to announce new funding awarded through the Maryland Department of Health, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, to put into action community-based projects that support physical activity in Worcester County. This new grant funding will help WCHD create projects that line up with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Healthy People 2020 campaign.

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Worcester County Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides consultation to parents, home owners, renters, landlords, medical offices, and other concerned community members on the lead poisoning, prevention, testing, and regulations. Education and case management is provide to parents with children with elevated blood lead levels. Call 410-632-1100 for more information. 


What is lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning is one of the most common environmental child health problems in the United States and effects 3 to 4 million children. Lead is especially harmful to children younger than 6, but anyone who eats, drinks, or breathes something which has too much lead can get lead poisoning. Although chipping paint and paint dust are the most common sources of lead, lead can also be found in ceramic cups and dishes, fishing sinkers, craft supplies, leaded crystal, spray paint, and even in soil and water.

Click the image below for more information.

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Flu season is fully underway but it's not too late to reduce your risk. Flu vaccines are still available in Worcester County and simple, everyday precautions such as washing your hands, staying home when you're sick, and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze can help stop the spread of the flu. To learn more call 410-632-1100 or click the image below to visit the CDC page on flu prevention. 

 

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Snow Hill Rotary partners with Worcester Health on prescription lockboxes; Health Department to launch new substance abuse awareness campaigns in Spring 2019


(Snow Hill, MD)- The Worcester County Health Department and Snow Hill Rotary Club partnered in 2019 to provide free prescription lockboxes to the community. In 2018, the Rotary conducted a needs assessment to determine priorities for where to donate their resources. After having presentations from various organizations, including the Worcester County Health Department, it was determined that the opioid crisis would be a priority area and partnering with the health department to provide lock boxes was the intervention they selected. The Snow Hill Rotary Club also participated in a Naloxone training provided by the health department.

Funded by the Rotary Club, the new lockboxes encourage residents to keep their prescription medications, such as opioids, safe and secure. In addition to promoting responsible opioid storage, Worcester Health will launch several new awareness campaigns this spring focusing on Addiction in the Workplace, Naloxone training, reducing the stigma around recovery as well as promoting the State of Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law.

“I would like to thank the Snow Hill Rotary Club for partnering with the Worcester County Health Department on the lockbox initiative,” said Rebecca Jones, Health Officer for Worcester County. “This is another avenue in which to fight the ongoing opioid crisis.”

 Pictured (left to right): Mimi Dean, Director of Prevention, Worcester County Health Department, Rebecca Jones, Health Officer, Worcester County Health Department, Marty Pusey, Snow Hill Rotary Club, Chris Welch, President, Snow Hill Rotary Club.

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