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Wildlife Positive for Rabies in Onondaga County
August 08, 2013

Onondaga County Deputy Health Commissioner, Michelle Mignano, announced today that the New York State Health Department laboratory has reported that a fox and a raccoon in Onondaga County have tested positive for rabies. The fox was seen in the vicinity of Delhi Road and Clinton Street in the village of Jordan.  The raccoon was seen in the vicinity of Hitchings Road, Lafayette in the town of Otisco.   Any person who had physical contact with a fox or raccoon in these areas should call the Onondaga County Health Department Animal Disease Control Program at 435-3165 immediately. 

Michelle Mignano stresses, “This is the time of year that the public may encounter wildlife.   It is important not to touch or feed wildlife because they may be rabid.” Protecting yourself from rabies is important year round.  Rabies is a fatal disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. It can take several weeks to several months for rabies symptoms to appear. Early treatment after an exposure can prevent rabies.

Any mammal can get rabies, but it is most often seen in bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. Below are some steps to help prevent rabies:

  • Teach children to stay away from unfamiliar animals, either wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
  • Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
  • If your family or your pet has been exposed to a bat, capture the bat and have it tested for rabies. If you awaken to find a bat in your room, or a bat is present in the room of an unattended or sleeping child or in a room with someone with a mental impairment, seek medical advice and have the bat tested. To watch a video on how to catch  a bat visit:  http://www.ongov.net/health/ADP.html
  • Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. This is especially important for dogs, cats and ferrets. Getting your pet vaccinated can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans.

Onondaga County Health Department offers a number of clinics throughout the year to protect your pet from rabies.   New York State Public Health Law requires that all puppies and kittens get an initial shot at three months of age, with a booster shot every three years. Ferrets must get a shot every year. For a full schedule of upcoming rabies clinics, visit www.ongov.net/health or call 435-3165.


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