Stray Cat in Smyrna Tests Positive for Rabies

DOVER (June 29, 2022) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Kent County residents who live or spend time near the area of Smyrna Landing Road in Smyrna that a positive case of rabies in a stray cat has been reported. Two individuals were potentially exposed to the stray cat in the residential neighborhood. The cat was tested for rabies, which returned positive results on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. The exposed individuals have been contacted and advised to begin post-exposure prophylaxis treatment (PEP).

Since Jan. 1, 2022, DPH has performed rabies tests on 118 animals, eight of which were confirmed to be rabid, which includes two raccoons, three foxes and three cats including this positive case. DPH only announces those rabies cases for which it is possible the animal had unknown contacts with additional humans or pets.In 2021, DPH performed rabies tests on 188 animals, nineteen of which were confirmed to be rabid, which includes one dog, one deer, one fox, one cow, two skunks, three cats, four raccoons and six bats.

Anyone who thinks they might have been bitten, scratched or have encountered a cat 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 cat may have bitten their pet should call their private veterinarian to have their pet examined and treated, and the exposure reported to the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

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

  • All dogs, cats and ferrets 6 months of age and older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors and not letting them roam free. It is especially important for pet owners who do allow their cats to roam outdoors to vaccinate their pets.
  • Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.
  • Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
  • Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and, thus, reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.
  • Keep your garbage securely covered.
  • Consider vaccinating livestock and horses as well. It is recommended to consult with your private veterinarian if you have any questions regarding whether your animal(s) should be vaccinated against rabies. 
If You Encounter an Animal Behaving Aggressively:·    If you encounter a wild animal behaving aggressively, it is recommended you contact the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a private nuisance wildlife control operator. A listing of nuisance wildlife control operators can be found at https://wildlifehelp.org/. Calls after hours and on weekends can be made to the 24-hour dispatch number at 800-523-3336.·    Do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may startle the animal and cause it to attack. Instead, your initial response – if the animal is behaving in an aggressive manner or appears to be foaming at the mouth – should be to raise your hands above your head to make yourself appear larger to the animal while slowly backing away from it. If the animal starts coming toward you, raise your voice and yell sternly at it, “Get away!” If all that fails, use any means to protect yourself, including throwing an object at the animal or trying to keep it away by using a pole, sturdy stick, or any other long object.

If You Encounter a Sick or Injured Animal:

  • To report a sick or hurt wild animal, Delaware residents are asked to contact the DNREC’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a permitted volunteer wildlife rehabilitator.
  • If you encounter a sick stray domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

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. 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.


Fox In Frankford Tests Positive for Rabies; Residents Advised of Attacks on Stray Cats

DOVER (March 31, 2022) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Sussex County residents, who live or spend time near the areas of Burbage and Jones roads, and Burbage Road and Route 374 in Frankford, of a positive case of rabies in a fox. The fox did not have any known contact with humans, however, there were reports of the fox attacking stray cats. If the attacked cats develop rabies, they will become a public health threat, especially to anyone who feeds them. The fox was tested for rabies and the results came back positive on Thursday, March 31, 2022.  

Since Jan. 1, 2022, the Division of Public Health has performed rabies tests on 53 animals, three of which were confirmed to be rabid, which includes one raccoon and two foxes, including this positive animal. DPH only announces those rabies cases for which it is possible the animal had unknown contacts with additional humans or pets. In 2021, DPH performed rabies tests on 193 animals, 19 of which were confirmed to be rabid, which includes one dog, one deer, one fox, one cow, two skunks, three cats, four raccoons, and six bats. These numbers differ from previous reports after a 2021 rabies data review. 

Anyone who thinks they might have been bitten, scratched by, or encountered a fox or feral cat 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 fox may have bitten their pet should call their private veterinarian to have their pet examined and treated, and the exposure reported to the Delaware Department of Agriculture. 

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

  • All dogs, cats, and ferrets 6 months of age and older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors and not letting them roam free. It is especially important for pet owners who do allow their cats to roam outdoors to vaccinate their pets.
  • Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.
  • Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
  • Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and, thus, reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.
  • Keep your garbage securely covered.
  • Consider vaccinating livestock and horses as well. It is recommended to consult with your private veterinarian if you have any questions regarding whether your animal(s) should be vaccinated against rabies. 

If You Encounter an Animal Behaving Aggressively:

  • If you encounter a wild animal behaving aggressively, it is recommended you contact the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a private nuisance wildlife control operator. A listing of nuisance wildlife control operators can be found at https://wildlifehelp.org/.
  • Do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may startle the animal and cause it to attack. Instead, your initial response – if the animal is behaving in an aggressive manner or appears to be foaming at the mouth – should be to raise your hands above your head to make yourself appear larger to the animal while slowly backing away from it. If the animal starts coming toward you, raise your voice and yell sternly at it, “Get away!” If all that fails, use any means to protect yourself including throwing an object at the animal or trying to keep it away by using a long stick, shovel, or fishing pole.
  • If you encounter a stray or feral domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, behaving aggressively, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

If You Encounter a Sick or Injured Animal:

  • To report a sick or hurt wild animal, Delaware residents are asked to contact the DNREC’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a permitted volunteer wildlife rehabilitator.
  • If you encounter a sick stray domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

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. 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.


Fox in Rehoboth Beach Tests Positive for Rabies

DOVER (March 18, 2021) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Sussex County residents, who live or spend time near the area of Bayard Avenue and Philadelphia Street in Rehoboth Beach, of a positive case of rabies in a fox. One individual, a non-Delaware resident, was potentially exposed to the fox in the residential neighborhood. The fox was tested for rabies, which returned positive results on Friday, March 18, 2022. The individual has been contacted to begin post-exposure prophylaxis treatment (PEP).

Since Jan. 1, 2022, the Division of Public Health has performed rabies tests on 46 animals, two of which were confirmed to be rabid, which includes one raccoon and one fox, including this positive animal. DPH only announces those rabies cases for which it is possible the animal had unknown contacts with additional humans or pets. In 2021, DPH performed rabies tests on 188 animals, 19 of which were confirmed to be rabid, which includes one dog, one deer, one fox, one cow, two skunks, three cats, four raccoons and six bats.

Anyone who thinks they might have been bitten, scratched, or encountered a fox 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 fox may have bitten their pet should call their private veterinarian to have their pet examined and treated, and the exposure reported to the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

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

  • All dogs, cats, and ferrets 6 months of age and older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors and not letting them roam free. It is especially important for pet owners who do allow their cats to roam outdoors to vaccinate their pets.
  • Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.
  • Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
  • Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and, thus, reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.
  • Keep your garbage securely covered.
  • Consider vaccinating livestock and horses as well. It is recommended to consult with your private veterinarian if you have any questions regarding whether your animal(s) should be vaccinated against rabies. 

If You Encounter an Animal Behaving Aggressively:

  • If you encounter a wild animal behaving aggressively, it is recommended you contact the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a private nuisance wildlife control operator. A listing of nuisance wildlife control operators can be found at https://wildlifehelp.org/.
  • Do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may startle the animal and cause it to attack. Instead, your initial response – if the animal is behaving in an aggressive manner or appears to be foaming at the mouth – should be to raise your hands above your head to make yourself appear larger to the animal while slowly backing away from it. If the animal starts coming toward you, raise your voice and yell sternly at it, “Get away!” If all that fails, use any means to protect yourself including throwing an object at the animal or trying to keep it away by using a long stick, shovel, or fishing pole.
  • If you encounter a stray or feral domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, behaving aggressively, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

If You Encounter a Sick or Injured Animal:

  • To report a sick or hurt wild animal, Delaware residents are asked to contact the DNREC’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a permitted volunteer wildlife rehabilitator.
  • If you encounter a sick stray domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

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. 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.


Raccoon in Georgetown Tests Positive for Rabies

DOVER (Dec. 10, 2021) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Georgetown residents who live or spend time in the vicinity of West Robbins Road and South Old State Road of a positive case of rabies in a raccoon that potentially exposed two dogs to the virus recently. The raccoon was tested for rabies and the results were positive. There is currently no known exposure to humans.

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:

  • All dogs, cats, and ferrets 6 months of age and older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors and not letting them roam free. It is especially important for pet owners who do allow their cats to roam outdoors to vaccinate their pets.
  • Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.
  • Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
  • Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and, thus, reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.
  • Keep your garbage securely covered.
  • Consider vaccinating livestock and horses, as well. It is recommended to consult with your private veterinarian if you have any questions regarding whether your animal(s) should be vaccinated against rabies.

Since Jan. 1, 2021, DPH has performed rabies tests on 185 animals, 19 of which were confirmed to be rabid, which includes one dog, one deer, one fox, one cow, two skunks, three cats, six bats, and four raccoons, including this 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 wild animal behaving aggressively, other than a feral cat or possibly a dog, it is recommended you contact the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a private nuisance wildlife control operator. A listing of nuisance wildlife control operators can be found at https://wildlifehelp.org/. Calls after hours and on weekends can be made to the 24-hour dispatch number at 800-523-3336.
  • Do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may startle the animal and cause it to attack. Instead, your initial response – if the animal is behaving in an aggressive manner or appears to be foaming at the mouth – should be to raise your hands above your head to make yourself appear larger to the animal while slowly backing away from it. If the animal starts coming toward you, raise your voice and yell sternly at it, “Get away!” If all that fails, use any means to protect yourself including throwing an object at the animal or trying to keep it away by using a long stick, shovel, or fishing pole.
  • If you encounter a stray or feral domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, behaving aggressively, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

If You Encounter a Sick or Injured Animal:

  • To report a sick or hurt wild animal, Delaware residents are asked to contact the DNREC’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a permitted volunteer wildlife rehabilitator.
  • If you encounter a sick stray domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

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/.


Raccoon Tests Positive for Rabies After Biting and 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:

  • All dogs, cats, and ferrets 6 months of age and older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors and not letting them roam free. It is especially important for pet owners who do allow their cats to roam outdoors to vaccinate their pets.
  • Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.
  • Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
  • Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and, thus, reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.
  • Keep your garbage securely covered.
  • Consider vaccinating livestock and horses, as well. It is recommended to consult with your private veterinarian if you have any questions regarding whether your animal(s) should be vaccinated against rabies.

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 wild animal (other than a feral cat or dog) behaving aggressively, it is recommended you contact the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a private nuisance wildlife control operator. A listing of nuisance wildlife control operators can be found at https://wildlifehelp.org/. Calls after hours and on weekends can be made to the 24-hour dispatch number at 800-523-3336.

Do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may startle the animal and cause it to attack. Instead, your initial response – if the animal is behaving in an aggressive manner or appears to be foaming at the mouth – should be to raise your hands above your head to make yourself appear larger to the animal while slowly backing away from it.

If the animal starts coming toward you, raise your voice and yell sternly at it, “Get away!” If all that fails, use any means to protect yourself including throwing an object at the animal or trying to keep it away by using a long stick, shovel, or fishing pole.

If you encounter a stray or feral domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, behaving aggressively, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

If You Encounter a Sick or Injured Animal:

To report a sick or hurt wild animal, Delaware residents are asked to contact the DNREC’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a permitted volunteer wildlife rehabilitator.

If you encounter a sick stray domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

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/.