Senator Ritchie Offers Tips to Stay Safe from Deadly Disease

State Senator Patty Ritchie is offering the public tips to stay safe from rabies, following the recent announcement of several cases of the disease in the North Country, including a recent discovery of rabies in a feral cat in Watertown and a raccoon in St. Lawrence County.

“Rabies is a deadly disease, and now, more than ever, it’s important that people know how to protect themselves,” said Senator Ritchie.

“Given these recent cases, it’s critical that people know the warning signs and take steps to prevent coming in contact with animals that have the disease.”

So far, there have been two rabies cases reported in St. Lawrence County.

In Jefferson County, three cases, the most recent involving a feral cat in the city of Watertown, have been reported.

According to health officials, rabies is a preventable, fatal disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord.  Any mammal can contract rabies, but it is most often seen in bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes.

Health officials note that it can take several weeks, and sometimes even several months, for symptoms of the disease to appear, and that the best protection is to avoid animals that are behaving strangely, and to vaccinate household pets.

A list of tips, from the state Health Department, is available at the following link:


Recently, Senator Ritchie fought to reverse state budget cuts for rabies prevention, including restoring $100,000 in funding for rabies prevention in Western, Central and Northern New York in the current state budget.