Onondaga County Commissioner of Health, Indu Gupta, MD, MPH, reports that the New York State Department of Health’s laboratory has confirmed that a fox found in the Town of LaFayette tested positive for rabies. This is the fourth animal that has tested positive for rabies in 2017.
Dr. Gupta stresses, “Protecting yourself from rabies is important year round. 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.” 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.
The Health Department advises taking the following steps to help prevent exposure to rabies:
- Never handle unfamiliar animals, either wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
- Wash any wound from an animal bite or scratch thoroughly with soap and water. Seek medical attention immediately.
- Call the Animal Disease Control Program at (315) 435-3165 if you find a bat in your home. Capture the bat that you or your pet were exposed to so that it can be tested for rabies. Learn how to capture a bat at /health/ADP.html.
- Bat-proof your house by plugging any holes in the house with steel wool.
- Keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations current. The Onondaga County Health Department offers rabies shot clinics at many locations throughout Onondaga County. Upcoming clinics include:
o Thursday, May 18, 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the SPCA, 5878 East Molloy Road, Mattydale
o Thursday, May 25, 5:00 to 7:00 pm at NBT Bank Stadium (Lobby), 1 Tex Simone Drive, Syracuse
Getting your pet vaccinated can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans. New York State Public Health Laws require that all puppies and kittens get their initial shot at three months of age, with a booster shot every three years. Ferrets must get a shot every year. See our full 2017 Rabies Clinic schedule at www.ongov.net/health/documents/RabiesClinicSchedule.pdf.
For more information about rabies prevention, visit /health/ADP.html.