March 6, 2009
Oswego County Health Department Announces 2009 Rabies Clinics
The Oswego County Health Department will hold eight rabies clinics this spring, summer and fall at locations throughout Oswego County. The first clinic will be Wednesday, March 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the County DPW Garage on State Route 104 East, Scriba.
Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Director of Public Health, said that the rabies virus continues to be active across Oswego County. In 2008, there were 12 cases of rabies confirmed by the county health department. They included a rabid cat, six skunks, two bats, and three raccoons.
“The rabies virus can infect any mammal, including dogs, cats, livestock, small wildlife, and humans,” said Dr. Norfleet. “The vast majority of rabies cases reported each year occur with wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.”
New York State law requires that all cats, dogs, and pet ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. The first rabies vaccine should be given no later than four months of age, however the Oswego County Health Department uses a vaccine that can be given to pets at three months of age. A second vaccination is required within one year of the first, and every three years thereafter. In order for owners to have their pet receive the 3-year booster shot, owners should bring their pet's last rabies vaccination certificate to the clinic as proof that their pet was previously vaccinated.
Clinics will be held at these locations:
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.
“While the majority of rabies cases involve wild animals,” said Dr. Norfleet, “keeping vaccinations current on dogs and cats, including indoor cats, is crucial to prevention. 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.”
Dr. Norfleet reminds people that any time a person or pet comes in physical contact with a bat or wild animal, especially a sick or suspicious-acting animal, the incident should be immediately reported to the County Health Department. Any person suffering a bite or scratch on the skin from such an animal should immediately and thoroughly wash the area with soap and water. Owners of pets or domestic animals that suffer wounds from an encounter with an animal can also wash those wounds with soap and water, if feasible (don't get soap into the eyes or mouth of an animal). Owners should prevent having direct contact with those wounds by wearing rubber or latex gloves and eye protection (regular or safety glasses) while cleaning the wound.
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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