County Health Department Reports Rabid Fox in Minetto

MINETTO – The Oswego County Health Department reported today (Feb. 10) that a fox in the town of Minetto has tested positive for the rabies virus.

Two people are undergoing post-exposure rabies treatment as a result of an encounter with the fox.

Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director, said the recent mild weather is causing wild animals to be more active than usual this time of year.

“The first rabies-positive animal report usually comes more toward the springtime, but we’ve already had a positive diagnosis during the middle of the winter,” said Huang. “We’ve had unusually mild weather over the past several weeks and many wild animals are quite active. Residents are reminded not to disturb wild animals, and pet owners need to make sure their pets are protected against rabies, to avoid getting rabies infection.”

To reduce the risk of rabies in animals and humans, people should take the following steps:

–                      Make sure that dogs, cats and pet ferrets have current rabies vaccines. The rabies vaccination is the most effective way of protecting pets and humans from rabies.

–                      Do not feed pets outdoors.

–                      Never try to feed a wild animal.

–                      Do not approach or touch unfamiliar animals.

–                      Avoid any animal with symptoms of rabies.

–                      Block any openings into the home that an animal may get through.

–                      Keep tamper-proof lids on outside garbage cans so animals are not attracted to your property.

–                      Teach children basic rules about protecting themselves from strange and unfamiliar animals.

Any time a person or pet comes in contact with a sick or suspicious-acting animal, the incident should be reported to the county health department as soon as possible.

A bite or scratch on the skin should be washed immediately with soap and water.

To report a possible exposure, or for more information about rabies, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564.

In an emergency during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the health department’s answering service at 341-0086.