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Contact: Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, 202-619-7177
POTOMAC, Md.— An adult white-tailed deer buck that charged a national park ranger on Wednesday, Sept. 16 has tested positive for rabies. The ranger was responding to a report of a deer in distress near Sycamore Landing along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. Visitors and any pets that may have come in contact with the deer are urged to report the encounter and seek immediate medical treatment.
The animal was dispatched after the encounter and turned over to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for a necropsy.
The risk of rabies transmission from deer to humans or even other animals is very low. Rabies is more commonly seen in bats, skunks and raccoons. At this time, it is unknown if other animals in the park are affected.
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 an infected animal gets into the eyes, nose, mouth or an opening in the skin. If left untreated, rabies is fatal in humans.
If you believe you or your pet may have come in contact with the deer, call the Montgomery County Disease Control Office at 240-777-1755. Symptoms of rabies may be very similar to those of the flu including general weakness, discomfort, fever or headache.
Rangers remind visitors that feeding wildlife is prohibited and can put people and animals at increased risk. Pet owners are also reminded to follow leash laws, which help prevent encounters between pets and wildlife.
Sycamore Landing is about 14 miles northwest of Potomac, Md. and about 1 mile to the west of River Road.