Onondaga County Interim Health Commissioner, Michelle Mignano, announced today that the New York State Health Department laboratory has reported that a raccoon found in the Town of Lafayette has tested positive for rabies. The raccoon was seen in the Route 20 area between O’Connell and Berry Roads.
Ms. Mignano explained, “It is important never to touch or feed wildlife because they may be rabid and protecting yourself from rabies is important throughout the year.” 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 important steps to 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 immediate medical attention.
- See your doctor for attention for any trauma due to an animal attack.
- If you come into contact with an animal exhibiting signs of rabies such as unusual behavior, change in the voice of the animal, signs of paralysis (weakness), a hard time swallowing with a lot of salivation, and/or acting lethargic (very weak), contact Animal Disease Prevention at 435-3165.
- Keep your pet’s vaccinations current. This is especially important for your pet dogs, cats, and ferrets. 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. Getting your pet regularly vaccinated can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans.
The Onondaga County Health Department offers a number of clinics throughout the year to protect your pet from rabies. The next rabies shot clinic is being held on: Thursday, July 10th from 2:00 pm -4:00 pm at the Onondaga Nation Fire Department; Route 11A in Nedrow. This clinic is open to the public and no appointment is necessary. For a full schedule of upcoming rabies clinics, visit www.ongov.net/health or call 435-3165.