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DHSS Press Release



Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: Jill.Fredel@delaware.gov

DPH Media Contact:
Jennifer Brestel
Cell 302-612-6223 Email: DPHMedia@Delaware.gov

Date: November 12, 2021
DHSS-12-2021





RACCOON IN BEAR TESTS POSITIVE FOR RABIES AFTER BITING, SCRATCHING INDIVIDUAL IN NEW CASTLE COUNTY


DOVER (NOV. 12, 2021) - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising residents who live or frequent the vicinity of Frazer and Denny Roads in Bear of a positive case of rabies in a raccoon that bit and scratched a human on November 7. The raccoon was tested for rabies and the results were positive. The victim who was bitten and scratched has begun exposure prophylaxis.

Anyone who thinks they may have been bitten, scratched, or come in contact with a raccoon in this area should immediately contact their health care provider or call the DPH Rabies Program at 302-744-4995. An epidemiologist is available 24/7. Anyone in the area who thinks a raccoon might have bitten their pet should call their private veterinarian for examination, treatment, and to report the exposure to Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Rabies is a preventable disease. DPH recommends that individuals take the following steps to prevent rabies exposure:

Since Jan. 1, 2021, DPH has performed rabies tests on 176 animals, 18 of which were confirmed to be rabid, including one dog, one deer, one fox, one cow, two skunks, three cats, six bats and three raccoons, including this most recent positive case. DPH only announces those rabies cases for which it is possible the animal had unknown contacts with additional humans or pets.

In 2020, DPH performed rabies tests on 121 animals, four of which were confirmed to be rabid along with two positive specimens tested out of state, including one raccoon, one bat and four cats.

Rabies is an infectious disease affecting the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Infection can occur through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or if saliva from such an animal gets into the eyes, nose, mouth, or an opening in the skin. Rabies in humans and animals cannot be cured once symptoms appear. Therefore, if a human has been exposed, and the animal is unavailable to be quarantined or tested, DPH recommends that people receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment, a series of four vaccinations, as a precautionary measure.

If You Encounter an Animal Behaving Aggressively:

If You Encounter a Sick or Injured Animal:

For more information on the DPH rabies program, visit www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/rabies.html or call 1-866-972-9705 or 302-744-4995. For more information on rabies, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/rabies.

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com.

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.



Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.





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