OSWEGO – The Oswego County Health Department announced today (April 11) that a skunk caught in the city of Oswego last week has tested positive for the rabies virus by the New York State Department of Health.
Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang is reminding people to be especially wary of wild animals acting out of the ordinary.
“With spring in the air, people are getting outside and enjoying the warmer weather. They should be alert to animal behavior that is not normal. Wild animals that would normally flee from encounters with humans or domestic animals should always be avoided. No matter how gentle and tame a wild animal may appear, do not go near it,” he said.
Rabies is almost always fatal to mammals once the symptoms appear.
Mammals that are aggressive or tame, show no fear of humans, wander aimlessly, are disoriented, or appear to be sick or paralyzed should be avoided because they could be infected with rabies or other diseases.
“Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between potentially rabid wildlife and humans,” said Huang. “When you vaccinate your pets, you reduce your family’s risk of exposure to rabies as well.”
New York State law requires that dogs, cats and ferrets receive rabies vaccinations.
The Oswego County Health Department will hold its next rabies clinic from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, at the County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road, Pulaski.
Additional rabies clinics include:
• Parish: Wednesday, May 15, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 24 Dill Pickle Alley
• West Monroe: Wednesday, June 12, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 46 County Route 11
• Granby: Wednesday, July 10, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 820 County Route 8
• Volney: Wednesday, August 14, 6 to 8 p.m., Bristol Hill Landfill Maintenance Garage, 3125 NYS Route 3
• Pulaski: Wednesday, September 11, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road
• Scriba: Wednesday, November 6, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Drive
There is a suggested donation of $7 per animal, although no pet will be turned away.
The vaccine is also available from a veterinarian.
Any time a person or pet encounters a potentially rabid animal, including a bat, the incident should be reported immediately to the local health department.
Health experts will investigate to determine if treatment is necessary.
To report a possible rabies exposure in Oswego County, call the county health department weekdays at 315-349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564.
In an emergency during evenings, weekends or holidays, call the department’s answering service at 315-341-0086.
Visit https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/rabies/fact_sheet.htm for more information.