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April 28, 2016

Oswego County Health Department Issues Rabies Warning

Oswego County Health Department Will Hold Rabies Clinic May 4 in Pulaski

OSWEGO COUNTY - Now that spring has arrived with more sunshine and warmer weather, people and their pets are spending more time outdoors. Wild animals such as skunks, raccoons and foxes are also more active, increasing the chances of spreading rabies to people and their pets.

Jiancheng Huang, Director of Public Health for the Oswego County Health Department, said there have already been three confirmed cases of rabies in Oswego County this year. They include a rabid fox in Minetto, a skunk in Scriba and a raccoon in Albion

“It’s imperative that pet owners make sure their animals’ rabies vaccines are up-to-date,” said Huang. “New York State Public Health Law requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. To meet community needs, the Oswego County Health Department runs several immunization clinics every year. I encourage residents to take advantage of these clinics and get their pets vaccinated.”

The next rabies clinic is Wednesday, May 4, at the County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road, Pulaski. The clinic runs from 6 to 8 p.m.

The rabies virus is carried in the saliva of infected animals and is usually transmitted to people and other mammals from the bite of a rabid animal. Although exposures can occur anytime, spring and summer are the seasons when most exposures occur.

The virus infects the central nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. Immunizing pets is required by state law and is the most effective way to reduce the risk of exposures to rabies. The majority of rabies cases reported in New York State occur with wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.

Dogs, cats and ferrets should receive their first rabies shot at three months of age. Dogs and cats require a second vaccination within one year of the first, and every three years thereafter. Ferrets must be vaccinated annually. In order for pets to receive the 3-year booster shot, owners need to show that their pet was previously vaccinated. Owners should bring their pet’s last rabies vaccination certificate with them to the clinic.

The health department suggests a $7 donation per animal to help cover the cost of the rabies clinics, but no one will be turned away. Dogs should be leashed. Cats and ferrets should be in a carrier.

The Health Department will hold rabies clinics at these locations in 2016:

  • Pulaski: Wednesday, May 4, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road.

  • West Monroe: Wednesday, June 1, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 46 County Rte. 11.

  • Hannibal: Wednesday, July 6, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 68 Cemetery Drive.

  • Volney: Wednesday, Aug. 3, 6 to 8 p.m., Bristol Hill Landfill maintenance garage, 3125 State Route 3.

  • Parish: Wednesday, Sept. 7, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 24 Dill Pickle Alley.

  • Pulaski: Wednesday, Oct. 5, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road.

  • Scriba: Wednesday, Nov. 2, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Drive.
  • Any time a person or pet comes in contact with a sick or suspicious-acting animal, the incident should be reported to the county health department as soon as possible. A bite or scratch on the skin should be washed immediately with soap and water.

    To reduce the risk of rabies in animals and humans, people should take the following steps:

  • Make sure that dogs, cats and pet ferrets have current rabies vaccines. The rabies vaccination is the most effective way of protecting pets and humans from rabies.

  • Do not feed pets outdoors.

  • Never try to feed a wild animal.

  • Do not approach or touch unfamiliar animals.

  • Avoid any animal with symptoms of rabies.

  • Block any openings into the home that an animal may get through.

  • Keep tamper-proof lids on outside garbage cans so animals are not attracted to your property.

  • Teach children basic rules about protecting themselves from strange and unfamiliar animals.

  • 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.

    For more information on rabies visit www.oswegocounty.com/health/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.

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