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Positive Rabies in a Raccoon and in Bats Found in Onondaga County
July 23, 2014

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 Rt. 11A area of Nedrow has tested positive for rabies.  In addition, two bats have tested positive for rabies, one in the Town of Lafayette and the other in the Town of Manlius.  So far this season, the total number of animals testing positive for rabies is ten.

Ms. Mignano reinforced, “We are seeing high numbers of animals testing positive for rabies this season, further emphasizing the need to remain vigilant and to never touch or feed wildlife because they may be rabid.  Rabies is preventable by avoiding close contact to wildlife and domestic pets that you are unfamiliar with.” 

The Onondaga County Health Department’s Animal Disease Program reminds residents that if you find a bat in your house, it is recommended that you trap the bat and have it tested. 

  •  Trap all bats found in your house.  It is important that all bats that come into direct contact with people get tested.
  •  Protect yourself before trapping the bat. Wear gloves, long sleeves, and a hat.
  •  Keep the bat inside – do not let it escape outdoors.  Shut the door of the room to keep the bat isolated.  Turn the lights on to slow the bat down. Collect the bat in a container with a secure 
  •  lid. Call Animal Disease Control at 435-3165 for further instruction.
  •  If you cannot trap the bat, call a trapper.  Look in the yellow pages under “Animal Removal–Wildlife.” 

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 rabies shot clinics throughout the year to protect your pet from rabies (see clinic details below). For more information on how to bat proof your house, visit www.ongov.net/health or call 435-3165.


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