Cut Your Rabies Risk and Leave Cute, Cuddly Wildlife Alone

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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 County health and animal control officials caution residents to resist the urge to “rescue” young wild animals, as the animals may have rabies and humans risk exposure by handling the animals. Even when the young animals; such as squirrels, raccoons and baby foxes do not have rabies, individuals endanger the animals by interfering with their natural adaptation and development of basic survival skills. In recent weeks there have been several instances where individuals have handled young animals and put themselves at risk for rabies exposure. While no one has required rabies vaccination (a series of vaccinations over a 14 day period), it is an important reminder. Report sick, injured or nuisance wildlife by call toll-free in Maryland 1-877-463-6497. “Rabies is a serious disease transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. It is nearly always fatal unless preventive treatment with rabies vaccination is administered,” said Cindy Edwards, RN, Senior Nurse Administrator of Communicable Disease and Epidemiology, Department of Health and Human Services. “Wild baby animals may be cute and cuddly but they should be left outside.” In the United States, rabies is predominately seen in wildlife. Wild animals that might appear as needing help or rehabilitation may in fact be debilitated because of diseases such as rabies. Maryland law prohibits residents from possessing certain wild animals, including raccoons and foxes, because these and other animals can pose a significant risk to humans. Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators should handle wildlife. Go to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at http://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/plants_wildlife/nw.aspx to find a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Release ID: 17-439 Media Contact: Mary Anderson 301-529-7669

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