Over the past three weeks, two cats and a fox have been euthanized in North Baltimore after tests revealed that they had rabies. Three cases does not make an epidemic, but if you live in the 21210, 21211, or 21212 zip codes consider yourself forewarned — and consider keeping your pets inside.
The three reported cases were in the area bordered by Falls Road to the west, York Road to the east, Lake Avenue to the north, and 40th Street to the south. “We are proactively alerting the public because the locations where these three rabid animals were located are in proximity to one another,” said Baltimore City Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “This isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm as it is not uncommon for rabies to be present in wildlife, but rather an opportunity for residents to be educated about how they can prevent rabies.”
According to the Baltimore County Health Department, rabid animals can often be recognized by their unusual behavior. Normally shy or nocturnal animals ambling (or lurching) down the street in broad daylight is a bad sign, as is the telltale frothing at the mouth. Rodents can’t transmit rabies, but many animals in suburban areas can, including skunks, raccoons, foxes, bats, and unvaccinated cats and dogs. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: don’t handle stray animals, especially if they’re behaving strangely. (And make sure to stress this point to your kids as well!) If you do get bitten or scratched by an animal that might be infected, call a doctor right away — if not treated right away, rabies is fatal.