OSWEGO — The Oswego County Health Department reported today (Jan. 24) that a raccoon has tested positive for rabies in the city of Oswego. This is the third case of rabies confirmed in Oswego County since late December.
Two dogs on the west side of Oswego were exposed to the rabid raccoon last week. Both dogs were up-to-date on their rabies vaccines and will require a rabies booster.
Dogs, cats and ferrets should receive their first rabies vaccine at three months of age. Dogs and cats require a second vaccination within one year of the first, and every three years thereafter.
Ferrets must be vaccinated annually.
“The best way to prevent being exposed to rabies is to vaccinate all pets. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and humans. When you vaccinate your pets, you may reduce your risk of exposure to rabies,” said Jiancheng Huang, Public Health Director for the Oswego County Health Department.
“In several recent cases, not this case, we found many owners did not vaccinate or update their pet’s vaccination,” said Huang. “I would encourage residents to make sure their pets’ rabies immunization are up-to-date.”
The rabies virus can remain active in the environment throughout the year.
The vast majority of rabies cases occur with wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.
Health officials advise people to be wary of any animals that act abnormally. Mammals that are aggressive or tame, show no fear of humans, wander aimlessly, are disoriented, or appear to be sick or paralyzed could be infected with rabies or other diseases.
People should report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to their local health department.
“Any encounter with a potentially rabid animal must be investigated as soon as possible to determine if a person or domestic pet may have been exposed to the rabies virus,” said Huang. “Treatment can prevent rabies from developing in humans who have been exposed to the virus.”
The Health Department’s environmental team is available around the clock to respond to incidents that involve possible exposure to rabies.
If it’s determined that an animal needs to be tested for rabies, arrangements are made to have the specimen tested by the New York State Health Department. If it’s determined there was possible exposure to humans or pets, the health department will advise on the proper treatment procedures.
To report a possible rabies exposure in Oswego County, call the health department weekdays at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564.
In an emergency during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the department’s answering service at 341-0086.
For more information visit http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/.