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Rabid Bat Found in Albion; Cat Must be Quarantined for Six Months

OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego County Health Department reported today (May 5) that a bat has tested positive for rabies in the town of Albion. As a result of its exposure to the rabid bat, a house cat which had not been vaccinated must be placed in quarantine for six  months.

This is the second case of rabies confirmed in the past week and the third this year in Oswego County.

“Bats are a common carrier of rabies and even cats that are not allowed to go outside can be exposed to rabies if a bat or other rabid animal enters the home,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “Bats can end up in the home and expose pets and people to rabies. Cats are more at risk of contracting rabies from a rabid bat because they can catch bats. All cats  must be vaccinated, even if they’re considered indoor pets.”

Any time a bat is found in the home, residents should contact the county Health Department as soon as possible.

The staff will investigate to determine the threat of exposure to people and pets.

“Our staff is available around the clock to respond to such incidents,” said Huang.

To report a possible exposure, call the Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3564.  In an emergency during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the department’s answering service at 315-341-0086.

Huang said the New York State Department of Health has developed “Catch a Bat Safely,” video with instructions on how to capture a bat in the home.

The video is posted at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/

New York State Public Health Law requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies.

“The Oswego County Health Department holds immunization clinics throughout the year to help meet this need in the community,” said Huang. “I encourage residents to take advantage of these clinics to get their pets vaccinated.”

Rabies clinics will be held at these locations this year:

– West Monroe:June 7, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 46 County Route 11.
– Granby: July 12, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 820 County Route 8.
– Volney: Aug. 9, 6 to 8 p.m., Bristol Hill Landfill maintenance building, 3125 State Route 3.
– Palermo: Sept. 13, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 1572 County Route 45.
– Scriba: Nov. 1, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Drive.

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

– Make sure that dogs, cats and 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.

For more information about rabies, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3564.

In an emergency during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the health department’s answering service at 315-341-0086.

For more information visit www.oswegocounty.com/health/rabies.pdf  or facebook.com/Oswegocountyhealth/