LEONARDTOWN, MD – The St. Mary’s County Health Department reported Wednesday, March 16 that a skunk in the Loveville area has tested positive for rabies. The test results were confirmed by the State’s laboratory at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Baltimore. It has been reported that a dog of unknown ownership had contact with the affected skunk. No description of the dog is available. Pet owners in the Loveville area are advised to examine their animals for bites, scratches or wounds of unknown origin and report suspect injuries to the St. Mary’s County Animal Control at 301-475-8018. Residents are asked to report any animal exposures involving humans to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office at 301-475-8008.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The health department investigates reports of animal bites and, based on the outcome of the investigation, refers the affected person(s) to the hospital’s emergency department or to their primary health care provider for treatment and vaccination.
The following precautions will protect your pets and family members from the threat of rabies:
Be sure your pet has up-to-date rabies shots. Maryland law requires that all cats, dogs and ferrets four-months and older have current rabies shots. Low-cost rabies clinics are provided by the health department and St. Mary’s Animal Welfare League (SMAWL) during March – November.
Keep pets in your home or yard and walk them on a leash.
Never approach or touch animals unknown to you.
Do not feed pets outdoors. Pet food and other food sources such as unsecured garbage cans may attract unwanted and unhealthy animals into your yard.
For more information about rabies and the rabies vaccination clinics, visit the health department’s website at www.smchd.org.