Onondaga County Interim Health Commissioner, Michelle Mignano, announced today that the New York State Health Department laboratory has reported that a skunk found in the Town of Onondaga has tested positive for rabies. The skunk was seen on Lords Hill Road, near Route 20.
Ms. Mignano reinforced, “This is the seventh case of rabies in animals this year, the public should avoid contact with wildlife and unfamiliar animals.” Avoiding risky exposure is extremely important in preventing rabies. Personal protection includes staying away from all wild animals and domestic animals that you do not know and/or you do not have permission to touch. It is also crucial that pet owners vaccinate their dogs, cats, and ferrets against rabies exposure.
Rabies is a fatal disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. It is most often transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal, but can potentially be spread through contact with an animal’s saliva on an open wound or scratch. 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 additional steps for you to reduce or prevent rabies exposure:
- keep your pets under your supervision so they don´t come into contact with wild animals
- do not handle wild animals and if you see one acting strangely, call Animal Disease Control at 435-3165
- teach children to tell you if they were bitten or scratched by an animal
- if you´re bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound with soap and water for at least five minutes, and then seek medical attention and call Animal Disease Control
- have your pets spayed or neutered.
The Onondaga County Health Department offers a number of rabies vaccination clinics throughout the year to protect your pet from rabies. The next rabies shot clinic is being held tomorrow: Thursday, July 10th from 2:00 pm -4:00 pm at the Onondaga Nation Fire Department on 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 http://www.ongov.net/health/documents/RabiesClinicSchedule.pdf or call 435-3165.