From the Harford County Health Department:
The Harford County Health Department will be partnering with Global Alliance for Rabies Control, and 4 Paws Spa and Training Center, Inc. to recognize the importance of World Rabies Day and by offering a very low cost rabies vaccination clinic.
Although World Rabies Day is formally recognized on September 28th, the Harford County Health Department is conducting the clinic on Saturday, September 26th from 1:00-4:00 pm to provide greater public accessibility to the event. The event will take place at the 4 Paws Spa and Training Center located at 121-A Industry Lane in Forest Hill. Upon entering the airpark, signs will direct the public to the clinic.
States David Reiher, Vector Control Specialist for the Health Department’s Environmental Health Division, “We are delighted to continue this important partnership with 4 Paws and its owner, Robin Greenwood for our eighth consecutive year. Without their cooperation and support, this very successful annual event would not be possible.” Veterinarians will vaccinate dogs, cats, and ferrets for the low cost of $8.00 per animal. In addition to the vaccinations, $3.00 discounts off “wash and dry” self-service are available to pet owners through 4 Paws Spa and Training Center, Inc. The health department also will be providing consumers with important public health information on Lyme disease awareness as well as emergency preparedness and planning for pet owners.
Health Officer Susan Kelly reminds pet owners that Maryland law requires that dogs, cats and ferrets are vaccinated against rabies, and further stresses the importance to pet owners of protecting their pets against this deadly viral disease. “We can’t afford to let our guard down since the rabies virus is ever-present in wildlife, which can expose our pets and possibly our family members. Having a current rabies vaccination can eliminate the need for your pet to be euthanized or endure a very difficult six month isolation period should it have contact with known rabies vectors like raccoons, foxes, and bats”, says Ms. Kelly.
The health department also advises the public that bats are an increasingly important vector of rabies in Maryland. Reiher mentions, “Bats are an important part of our ecosystem and simply being around a bat does not expose one to rabies. However, risk increases as people and their pets come into direct contact with bats. Unlike a dog bite, the bite from a bat is less apparent due to its small teeth that might not leave obvious marks.”
Whereas the number of raccoons that test positive for rabies generally is far greater than for bats, the most recent statewide report from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DHMH) Center for Zoonotic and Vector-borne Diseases indicates that, through September 12, 2015, 120 raccoons and 115 bats have tested positive for the rabies virus. In Harford, of the 163 animals submitted by HCHD for rabies analysis so far this year, there has been a total of 16 confirmed positive specimens, including 10 raccoons, 4 bats, a fox and a cat. This total has increased by 3 over the same period last year.
For more information about this event or this topic, visit www.harfordcountyhealth.com or contact the Harford County Health Department’s Rabies and Vector Control Program at 410-877-2315. Other online informational resources include: www.harfordcountyhealth.com/rabies, www.worldrabiesday.org and www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/Epidemiology/Epidemiology.htm#Wild%20Animals.