DHMH, in conjunction with clinicians and public health partners, is assessing the risk of rabies exposure in those who had direct contact with the individual. When people are exposed to rabies, it is usually because of a bite from an infected animal, not from contact with another person.
Human rabies is prevented by administration of rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin. Preventive treatment is only recommended for people with specific types of exposure to the saliva, tears, respiratory secretions, or to fluid from the nervous system of an infected person.
Over the past 10 years in the U.S., an average of less than five human rabies cases have been diagnosed each year. Animals found to be infected with the virus include raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats and other wild animals. Unvaccinated dogs and cats can also become infected.
Maryland law requires all dogs, cats, and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies virus. Last year, 320 animals with rabies were detected in Maryland. Rabies can be prevented by reporting all animal bites, vaccinating your pets, and enjoying wildlife from a distance.
For more information about rabies, visit:
• DHMH: http://ideha.dhmh.maryland.gov/OIDEOR/CZVBD/SitePages/rabies.aspx
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.