BATH — After a string of rabid animal attacks, Bath will host an informational meeting on rabies for citizens on Tuesday evening.

An epidemiologist from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a state biologist, a game warden, Bath’s animal control officer and Bath’s police chief will be available to provide information and answer questions.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the City Hall Auditorium.

According to a report from the Maine CDC, Bath has seen 15 confirmed cases of rabies, more than any other municipality in the state. Statewide, 87 wild animals have tested positive for rabies this year.

Rabies is a viral disease that infects the nervous system of mammals, making the infected animal unusually aggressive. It is transmitted primarily through bites and exposure to saliva or spinal fluid from an infected animal.

“We’re listening to people and we’re trying to do something,” said Anne Harford, Bath’s animal control officer. “I’m sure there are lots of questions because there have been so many fox attacks. We’ve had outbreaks of rabies before, but we’ve never had anything like aggressive foxes that chase people.”


The most recent case of rabies in Bath was reported by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Nov. 8 after a 52-year-old man was attacked by a rabid fox on Nov. 5.

Retired Bath Fire Chief Norman Kenney, 87, was attacked by a fox in early September while behind his house on Getchell Street — a couple of blocks north of Maine Maritime Museum.

A man was attacked later in September by a fox on Middle Street. He went to a hospital to get the post-rabies exposure vaccine.

Last month, Bath’s city clerk resigned to give herself time to recover from injuries she suffered during a fox attack at her home in Brunswick in September.

In early August, a rabid fox attacked a 6-year-old girl on Bumpy Hill Road. Julia Davis of Bath was playing outside at a friend’s house when the fox attacked and chased her into the home. Davis was bitten on the leg before the homeowner chased the fox outside, where it was killed by the homeowner’s dog.

Last month, Bath issued a warning to residents to steer clear of animals acting strangely until winter comes and urged residents not to feed wild animals, to vaccinate pets and ensure all compost is disposed of in a secure container.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture drops oral rabies vaccine baits by air and ground every year in northeastern Maine to stem the spread of raccoon rabies, the department said it has no plans to distribute baits in the Midcoast.

USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said before it can move its oral rabies vaccination zone to encompass the Midcoast, the USDA must eliminate rabies in the northeast part of Maine. Spot treating Bath for an outbreak would not be effective and it’s cost-prohibitive to drop the baits statewide, Espinosa added.

If someone is exposed to rabies, seek immediate medical attention, as the rabies vaccination is 100 percent effective if it’s administered in time. Rabies is fatal if left untreated.

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