Don’t Risk Rabies: What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself

By Senator Patty Ritchie

Sunny skies, warm weather and plenty of things to do.  For most people, summertime means spending a lot more time outside.

While the camping trips, cookouts and beach days are all fun, it’s important that we know how to protect ourselves from the potential dangers that can be found in the great outdoors.

One of those dangers is rabies.

Just recently, our region had its first confirmed case of rabies this summer in a  raccoon at St. Lawrence County’s Eel Weir State Park.  While no one was hurt, the incident served as a good reminder to be aware of the disease, its warning signs and to know how to protect yourself.

Rabies is a preventable, deadly viral disease of mammals, that is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.

The vast majority of cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.

The scary part?

Rabies kills almost any human or animal that contracts it.

I’ve been educating myself and my loved ones about the dangers of rabies, and have been doing my part in Albany to make sure important programs that protect the population from the disease aren’t put on the chopping block.

This year, I fought against cuts in state funding for rabies prevention, and was able to secure additional money.

In the most recent state budget, I fought to restore $100,000 in funding for rabies prevention for Western, Central and Northern New York.

I’ve also created a fact sheet that includes tips about how you can protect yourself.  You can find it by visiting my website,

When the weather is nice, there’s no place I would rather be then outside and I’m sure you feel the same.

I urge you to read up on how to protect you and your loved ones from the dangers of rabies, so your summer will not only be fun, but safe too.