From the Harford County Health Department:
To focus attention on World Rabies Day, the Harford County Health Department Bureau of Environmental Health is collaborating once again this year with international rabies experts and 4 Paws Spa and Training Center Inc., a local business in Forest Hill, to provide a low cost Rabies Vaccination Clinic for all interested pet owners.
Founded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alliance for Rabies Control, a UK charity, the World Rabies Day initiative aims to bring together relevant partners in an effort to address rabies prevention and control through coordinated pet vaccination efforts and educational awareness focusing on proper wound management and administration of rabies vaccination after an exposure has occurred.
Although World Rabies Day formally is recognized on Tuesday, September 28th, the Health Department is conducting its clinic on Saturday, September 25th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. To provide greater accessibility, the event will take place for the third consecutive year at 4 Paws Spa and Training Center, Inc., located at 121 A Industry Lane in the Forest Hill Industrial Airpark. Upon entering the airpark, signs will direct the public to the clinic.
Veterinarians at the Health Department-sponsored clinic will vaccinate dogs, cats, and ferrets for the very low cost of $5.00 per animal. Dog, cat, and ferret owners wishing to protect their pets from this dreaded disease are invited to participate and take advantage of this service while vaccine supplies last. In addition to the vaccinations, educational information will be available, as well as special rates on “wash and dry” self-service for pet owners through 4 Paws Spa and Training Center, Inc.
“We have been very gratified with the public’s ongoing annual interest and participation in this clinic,” states Harford County Health Officer, Susan Kelly. “In a struggling economy, the clinic represents a real ‘win – win’ for pet owners as well as for public health. By partnering with a local business and people from virtually around the world toward a common goal, we see this as an opportunity to highlight rabies prevention and control efforts in our community while reducing costs to pet owners.”
Robin Greenwood, proprietor of 4 Paws Spa and Training Center, Inc., shares her excitement about continuing this partnership with the Health Department and bringing this low cost vaccination clinic to the public. Says Ms. Greenwood, “The pet industry, veterinarians, and governmental agencies all agree that rabies prevention begins with responsible pet ownership.” Directions and additional information about services offered by their facility can be obtained on-line at www.4pawsspaonline.com .
“We simply cannot afford to let our guard down with respect to rabies,” advises Ms. Kelly. “The disease is ever-present in wildlife, which can expose our pets and possibly our family members.” Between January 1st and July 31st of this year, the Health Department has identified 6 rabies positive animals, 5 raccoons and 1 cat.
Statistics demonstrating the impact of rabies on public health include:
– 55,000 deaths worldwide annually (approximately one person every ten minutes)
– Approximately 7,000 cases of animal rabies in the U.S. annually. These animals, mostly wildlife, can expose humans or pets to rabies.
– 1-3 cases of human rabies in the U.S. per year.
– The last reported case of human rabies in Maryland in 1976 resulted from an exposure to an infected bat.
It is estimated that every year 30,000-40,000 US residents potentially are exposed to rabies, requiring costly and uncomfortable human rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. Post exposure treatment requires administration of Human Rabies Immune Globulin (HRIG) and four vaccinations over the course of two weeks, costs of which might not be covered by health insurance.
Additional information is available online at www.harfordcountyhealth.com/rabies , http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/Epidemiology/Epidemiology.htm#Wild%20Animals and www.worldrabiesday.org or by contacting David Reiher of the Harford County Health Department Rabies and Vector Control Program at 410-877-2315.