March 7, 2008
Oswego County Health Department Announces Rabies Clinic Schedule
The Oswego County Health Department will hold a rabies clinic from 4 to 6 p.m. at the county Highway Garage in Scriba on Wednesday, March 26. The Scriba clinic is the first in a series of eight rabies immunization clinics to be held throughout Oswego County during the spring, summer and fall months.
Evan Walsh, Acting Public Health Director and Senior Public Health Sanitarian, said there were 8 confirmed cases of rabies in Oswego County last year.
“The rabies shot is the most effective way of preventing the spread of rabies,” said Walsh, “and all dogs, cats and pet ferrets are required by state law to have current rabies shots.”
The following rabies clinics are scheduled for 2008:
Walsh said the rabies virus can infect any mammal, including dogs, cats, livestock, small wildlife, and humans. The vast majority of rabies cases reported each year occur with wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.
“While the majority of rabies cases involve wild animals, keeping vaccinations current on dogs and cats, including indoor cats, is crucial to prevention,” said Walsh. “Pets can act as a bridge between a rabid wild animal and person, acquiring the virus through a bite and then bringing the virus into the household.”
Animals may receive their first rabies vaccine at age three months. The first shot protects the animal from rabies for one year. Subsequent shots last for three years. Pet owners should bring their pet's last rabies certificate to the clinic.
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.
Walsh emphasizes that any time a person or pet comes in physical contact with a wild animal, it should be immediately reported to the county Health Department. Any bite or scratch on the skin should be immediately and thoroughly washed with soap and water.
To report a possible exposure, or for more information about rabies, call the 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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