Groundhog Found at Maryland Zoo Was Rabid, Health Officials Confirm

WASHINGTON — A wild groundhog found Saturday at Baltimore’s Maryland Zoo was rabid, according to the state Health Department.

The groundhog, which was not part of the zoo’s animal collection, had been following a visitor before staff captured it and tested it for rabies.

The Health Department advises anyone who had contact with a groundhog at the zoo June 24–July 8 to call 410-767-5649 or (after hours) 410-795-7365 for a risk assessment.

Rabies is a serious disease that is transmitted via an infected animal’s saliva. All mammals are susceptible, including dogs and cats.

So far in 2017, 112 animals in Maryland have been diagnosed with rabies, including raccoons, bats, foxes and four other groundhogs.

To prevent exposure, officials recommend the following:

  • Vaccinate your dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, sheep and cattle.
  • Keep pets under control at all times — especially when traveling.
  • Avoid sick animals and any that are acting unusually.
  • Cover garbage cans
  • Do not leave pet food outside.
  • Do not relocate wildlife.
  • Enjoy wildlife from a distance, and do not feed or attempt to rescue such animals.
  • Prevent bats from entering your home.
  • If you find a bat in your home, do not touch it. Only let it go if you are sure no people or household pets have had any contact with it. Contact your local health department or animal control agency for assistance.

If you or your pet has been exposed to a rabid or suspected rabid domestic animal, get the owner’s name, and contact information, and immediately call your local health department or animal control agency.

More information is available on the Maryland Health Department’s website.

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