September 4, 2007
Rabies Clinic Sept. 12 in Hastings
HASTINGS -- The Oswego County Health Department will hold a rabies clinic at the Town Highway Garage on Wilson Road, Hastings, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12.
Since the beginning of the year there have been seven confirmed cases of rabies in Oswego County. They include a rabid raccoon, three skunks, and three bats, found in Constantia, Sandy Creek, Volney, Mexico and Oswego.
All dogs, cats and pet ferrets are required by state law to have a current rabies vaccination. The health department suggests a $5 donation per animal to help cover the cost of the rabies clinics, but no one will be turned away due to inability to pay.
Dogs should be leashed and cats or ferrets should be leashed on kept in a secure cage.
The rabies virus can be passed from an infected animal to another mammal through a bite, scratch or contact with infected saliva or tissue through the eye, nose or mouth.
Bats are a common carrier of rabies, said Oswego County Public Health Director Kathleen Smith. She advises people to try to avoid any contact with bats, especially one that is outdoors during daylight, on the ground, or appears to be paralyzed.
“If a person or pet has any physical contact with a bat, or if you're not sure whether contact occurred, precautions need to be taken immediately,” said Smith. “If the bat isn't captured, or if it tests positive for rabies, any person, cat, dog or pet ferret that may have been exposed must receive rabies shots as soon as possible.”
Bats rarely attack humans, but any physical contact with a rabid bat may transmit rabies. In some situations, such as when a bat is found in a room with a sleeping person, or next to an unattended young child or pet, a bat bite may not be detected.
“Our staff is available around the clock to respond to incidents that involve possible exposure to a rabid animal,” said Smith. “If we determine that the animal needs to be tested, we will make arrangements to send it to the state Health Department laboratory near Albany.”
To report a possible exposure, or for more information about rabies, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564. In an emergency during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the health department's answering service at 341-0086.
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