Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Indu Gupta, MD, MPH, announced today that a fox and a raccoon in Onondaga County have both tested positive for rabies. The tests were confirmed by the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratories. The fox was found in the Town of Clay and the raccoon was found in the City of Syracuse. Three residents and one pet were exposed to rabies as a result of these two cases; however, there are no human cases of rabies in Onondaga County. So far in 2016, six animals (one bat, one skunk, one fox, and three raccoons) have tested positive for rabies in Onondaga County.
Dr. Gupta 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 the animal may 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: /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.
Rabies Shot Clinics
The Onondaga County Health Department offers rabies shot clinics at many locations throughout Onondaga County. Upcoming clinics include:
- Thursday, June 2, 5:00 to 7:00 pm Camillus Town Hall, 4600 W. Genesee Street, Syracuse
- Thursday, June 9, 5:00 to 7:00 pm Meachem Ice Rink, 121 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse
- Monday, June 20, 5:00 to 7:00 pm Cicero Highway Garage, 8236 Brewerton Road, Cicero
- Thursday, July 7, 4:00 to 6:00 pm Onondaga Nation Fire Department, Route 11A, Nedrow
All shots are free for Onondaga County residents. Additional rabies shot clinics will be offered throughout the year. For a complete clinic schedule call 435-3280 or visit: www.ongov.net/health/documents/RabiesClinicSchedule.pdf.
For more information about rabies prevention call 435-3165 or visit: