Rabid bat population increases in Maryland

Posted at 5:54 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 19:26:04-04

The number of rabid bats in Maryland continues to increase. There have been 100 confirmed cases in the state this year.


Rabies is the world’s most fatal disease, and is nearly always fatal without treatment. Rabies is spread through

the saliva of an infected animal. Each year, about 900 Marylanders receive treatment after possible exposure.

Here are a few things state health officials want you to know to minimize your risk of infection.

  • Have your dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, sheep and cattle vaccinated against rabies.
  • Keep your pet under your control at all times, especially when traveling.
  • View wildlife from a distance and do not feed or attempt to rescue wildlife.
  • Avoid sick animals and any that are acting in an unusual manner.
  • Cover garbage cans securely and do not leave pet food outside.
  • Do not “rescue” or relocate wildlife.
  • 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 bitten or otherwise exposed to a rabid or suspected rabid domestic animal, get the owner’s name, address and telephone number. Contact your local health department or animal control agency immediately. 

Residents who need to report sick, injured or nuisance wildlife should contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at 410-260-8540 or 1-877-463-6497 for assistance; for after-hours wildlife emergencies, call 1-800-628-9944.

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