Preventing Rabies Exposure Remains Important in Winter Months

Onondaga County Commissioner of Health, Indu Gupta, MD, MPH reports that the New York State Health Department’s laboratory confirmed that a cat found in the Town of Onondaga recently tested positive for rabies. This is the second cat that tested positive in 2014, bringing the total number of animals testing positive for rabies in Onondaga County to 22 for the year 2014. There were NO human cases of rabies in Onondaga County in 2014.

The Health Department reminds residents that rabies can be present any time of the year and advises taking the following steps to help prevent rabies exposure:

  • Call the Animal Disease Control Program IMMEDIATELY at 435-3165 if you find a bat in your home or in a place that they are not usually found.
  • Look for holes in common entry places in your home and plug any holes in the house with steel wool to bat-proof your home.
  • Capture a bat that you or your pet has been exposed to especially if the bat is dead or appears sick.
  • Seek medical attention and have the bat tested if you awaken to find a bat in your room.
  • Teach children never to 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.

The Health Department reminds you that rabies can be present any time of the year. Keep 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. 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.
For more information about rabies prevention, visit /health/ADP.html.