Onondaga County Health Department Issues Warning About Potentially Rabid Fox

Those Who Were Bitten Must Seek Medical Attention Immediately
UPDATE: Laboratory testing confirmed that the fox had rabies.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 17, 2023 – The Onondaga County Health Department is issuing a public warning about a potentially rabid fox in the Burnet Avenue area of the city of Syracuse. Reports indicated that the fox was displaying abnormal behavior and had attacked multiple people. The fox is now dead and is being submitted for laboratory confirmation for rabies. Rabies is a serious and potentially fatal disease that can be transmitted to humans and other animals through bites and scratches.

If you or your pet have been bitten, scratched, or had any direct physical contact with a fox in the Burnet Avenue area of the city, it is crucial to take immediate action. Call the Onondaga County Health Department at 315-435-3236 and visit an Emergency Room or bring your pet to a veterinarian for evaluation. All residents in need of post-exposure rabies shots will receive them at no cost.

What to Do if Bitten or Scratched

  1. Clean the Wound: Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water for at least 10 minutes. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of rabies infection.
  2. Call the Health Department at 315-435-3236.
  3. Seek Medical Attention: If you or your pet have been bitten or scratched, or had any direct physical contact with a fox, seek medical or veterinary attention immediately. Prompt and appropriate medical treatment is the best way to prevent the onset of rabies.

Preventive Measures
Residents are urged to be vigilant and take necessary precautions to protect themselves, their families, and their pets from rabies year-round.

  1. Avoid Wildlife: Do not approach or attempt to feed any wild animals, including foxes. Keep a safe distance and ensure that children and pets are also kept away from wildlife.
  2. Vaccinate Your Pets: Ensure that your pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Rabies vaccination is not only essential for the health of your pet but also required by law.
  3. Secure Garbage: Properly secure garbage cans and eliminate potential food sources to discourage wildlife from coming near your property.
  4. Educate Your Community: Share this information with your neighbors, friends, and community members to raise awareness about the presence of a potentially rabid animal.

The Onondaga County Health Department is closely monitoring the situation and working to ensure the safety and well-being of our community members. For more information about rabies please visit our website: http://www.ongov.net/health/env/rabies.html