Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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April 30, 2012

Vaccination and Awareness are the Best Defense Against Rabies

OSWEGO COUNTY - As the weather is warming and Oswego County residents are spending more time outdoors, the Oswego County Health Department wants to remind people of some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of being exposed to rabies. Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals, most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.

"When untreated, rabies is almost always fatal," said Oswego County Director of Public Health Dr. Dennis Norfleet. "Fortunately, rabies is preventable. The Oswego County Health Department can help members of the community take the necessary steps to stay clear of exposure to rabies."

Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner. Protect yourself, your pet and your community by taking animals to be vaccinated. Pets can be vaccinated at:

  • Pulaski : County Highway Garage, Wednesday, May 9, 6 to 8 p.m.

  • Volney: Bristol Hill Landfill, NYS Rte. 3, Wednesday, June 6, 6 to 8 p.m.

  • Parish: County Highway Garage, Wednesday, July 11, 6 to 8 p.m.

  • Hannibal: Town Highway Garage, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 6 to 8 p.m.

  • Scriba: County Highway Garage, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 6 to 8 p.m.

  • West Monroe: Town Highway Garage, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 6 to 8 p.m.

  • Pulaski: County Highway Garage, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 6 to 8 p.m.

"Vaccination prior to exposure is a crucial factor in rabies prevention," said Dr. Norfleet. "When family pets, such as dogs and cats, go unvaccinated and are exposed to rabies, it can threaten the lives of all family members."

Additional tips to prevent rabies exposure include:

  • Avoid stray animals and wildlife

  • Don't feed pets outside

  • Never try to separate animals that are fighting

  • Do not try to rehabilitate wildlife or keep wild animals as pets

  • Don't allow pets to roam free

  • If you are bitten, wash bite wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

  • If your pet is bitten, consult your veterinarian.

If you, a family member or pet is bitten or scratched, contact the Oswego County Health Department as soon as possible, so that an investigation can begin and treatment recommendations in regards to rabies can be made. Decisions about reporting incidents and seeking treatment should not be delayed.

To report a possible exposure, call the Oswego 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 health department's answering service at 315-341-0086.

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