News: Air Force Medical Group issues rabies alert at D.C. Joint Base
Story by Joseph P Cirone
WASHINGTON – The Air Force 579th Medical Group has issued a rabies alert for Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling after a test confirmed that a single groundhog was infected with rabies.
“A groundhog with unusually aggressive behavior was observed on April 21. The District of Columbia [D.C.] Department of Health confirmed it was ill with rabies,” according to information released today by 579th commander, Col. Kathryn Tate.
Tate said reported that the animal was removed from JBAB by the D.C. Animal Care & Control, enabling the Health Department to make its diagnosis. D.C.’s animal control will only remove ill or injured wild animals from their habitats, according to officials.
“Prevention is critical. If you own dogs, it is not recommended that you allow them to run off leash in wooded areas due to the risk of exposure to rabies,” the 579th’s alert cautions.
Wild animals are attracted to food waste. Securing trash cans and other food sources, repairing and patching holes in attics and blocking crawl spaces such as porches and sheds, will help to prevent the intrusion of wildlife, the 579th suggests.
The 579th alert states, “The key message is caution when encountering any suspicious animal, including cats and dogs. If you are bitten or scratched by any animal, please wash the wound [no matter how minor] with soap and water and seek medical care immediately.”
Informational flyers on rabies and the district’s Animal Control laws are located at: http://bit.ly/rabies_jbab and http://bit.ly/animalctl
The flyers, provided by the 579th, serve as a handy reference on the signs of abnormal animal behavior and provide information on further ways to discourage wildlife from entering your property.
For any emergency, call 202-433-3333. D.C. Animal Care & Control may be contacted at 202-576-6664 or 202-535-2323.
For answers to any additional questions regarding this or any other public health related issue, contact the 579th’s Public Health office at 202-404-3604 or 202-404-2056.