Thirteen persons in Montgomery County are undergoing rabies treatment after hunters came in contact with rabid raccoons in three separate incidents in a week, a county official reported yesterday.
All of the 13 had either killed raccoons while hunting or had come in contact with a dead raccoon's skin.
County Information Officer Charles Maier said none of the 13 knew about the area-wide rabies outbreak, despite numerous news reports and a massive public awareness campaign in schools, libraries and public buildings warning residents to avoid all wild animals.
Maier said eight people are undergoing the treatments as the result of a hunter taking a skinned, rabid raccoon to his office Monday, where seven of his colleagues touched it.
In another incident, a father and son shot and handled a wild, rabid raccoon on a hunting trip in Frederick County.
A third incident, Maier said, occurred Dec. 4, when two men and a woman shot and skinned a wild raccoon near Seneca Valley Park.
The latest incidents bring to 42 the number of Montgomery Countians who have had to taken the series of five anti-rabies shots. Coincidentally, 42 also is the number of raccoons diagnosed in Montgomery as rabid, since the first one was detected in September.
Persons who have been in contact with rabid raccoons must take a series of five shots. The cost of the treatment is $450, Maier said.
While Montgomery's rabid raccoon problem has moved inside the beltway, neighboring Prince George's County still has not had a diagnosed case of a rabid raccoon, an official there said. Two rabid raccoons have been found in the District. The largest number of confirmed incidents have been reported in Virginia.