ACCOKEEK, MD (WUSA)-- On Saturday, January 16, 2010, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed that a 6 week old Hereford calf at the Hard Bargain Farm in Prince George's County tested positive for rabies.
The Maryland Department of Health says the farm is only accessible to groups with scheduled visits. Between December 21, 2009 and January 14, 2010, students from Samuel Chase Elementary School in Prince George's County, Berry Elementary School in Charles County, and a group called the "Student Conservation Association" had field trips to the farm.
Health officials say that it is not clear if the students had any direct contact with the calf with rabies.
The Prince George's County Health Department wants any person who attended the field trip to the farm, and had any contact with the saliva of the calf on the farm, to immediately go to their local emergency department or call the Rabies and Infectious after hours number 240-508-5774, to determine if they need to be vaccinated.
For those living in Charles County, health officials are asking you to call the Charles County Health Department at 240-216-4055 or 240-299-4693
In an advisory, health officials explain that rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The virus is transmitted in the saliva of infected animals, and it is critical to identify all people who may have had contact with the calf since December 21, 2009.
When a person is bitten or exposed to saliva of a rabid animal, the disease is prevented with a four dose rabies vaccine series administered over a 14 day period and a dose of rabies immunoglobulin given at the beginning of the series (rabies post-exposure prophylaxis).
Rabies is most commonly found among wildlife such as raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes, but can be transmitted to domestic animals. In Maryland, almost 400 animals were diagnosed with rabies in 2009.
To prevent your exposure to rabies:
Have your dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, sheep, and cattle vaccinated against rabies.
Written by 9NEWS NOW