Onondaga County Rabies Update

Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Indu Gupta, MD, MPH, announced today that a raccoon found in the town of LaFayette has tested positive for rabies. The test was confirmed by the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratories. So far in 2016 three animals have tested positive for rabies in Onondaga County. One bat and one raccoon were found to be positive during the winter months.

Dr. Gupta reminds Onondaga County residents to take precautions to protect yourself, your family, and your pets from rabies. Rabies is a deadly but preventable disease that is transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Fortunately, human rabies is rare in the United States. Although there is no treatment for rabies, it is PREVENTABLE.

Prevent Rabies in Your Pet

  • Visit your veterinarian on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats, and ferrets. New York State Public Health Laws requires that all puppies and kittens get their initial shot at three months of age, the first booster shot within 1 year after the initial shot, and then a booster shot every three years.  Ferrets must get a shot every year.
  • Maintain control of your pets. Keep cats and ferrets indoors and keep dogs under direct supervision.
  • Call your town or local municipality for assistance or guidance on how to remove stray or wild animals from your neighborhood.

Teach Children to Stay Safe Around Animals

  • Supervise children while interacting with animals.
  • Teach children to wash their hands right after playing with animals or anything in the animals’ environment (e.g., cages, beds, and food and water dishes).
  • Respect a dog’s space. Never approach a dog, especially one that is tied or confined behind a fence or in a car. Don’t pet a dog—even your own—without letting it see and sniff you first.
  • Do not disturb a dog while sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or caring for their puppies. Be cautious around strange dogs.
  • Do not touch or go near an animal if it does not belong to you.
  • Do not approach or feed wild animals.

Protect your Family from Bats
About 5 percent of bats may carry rabies so take steps to keep bats out of your house:

  • Bat-proof your home. Look for holes in places like the garage, attic, and basement and plug them with steel wool. Repair window screen holes with wire mesh and caulk any openings or cracks.
  • Trap any bat found in your home—do not let it escape outdoors. Before trapping the bat, protect yourself with gloves and a hat. Collect the bat in a container with a secure lid. For complete instructions and a video on how to trap a bat visit: www.ongov.net/health/ADP.html.
  • Once the bat is caught, call the Animal Disease Control Program at 435-3165 to bring the bat in for testing at our East Syracuse location at 6230 East Molloy Road.
  • If you cannot trap the bat, call a local trapper for assistance.

Vaccinate Your Pets
Onondaga County Health Department offers rabies shot clinics at many locations throughout Onondaga County. Upcoming clinics include:

  • Thursday, May 19, 5:00 to 7:00 pm SPCA, 5878 East Molloy Road, Mattydale
  • 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

All shots are free for Onondaga County residents. A voluntary donation per family is appreciated. 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: