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July 27, 2016

Rabid Skunk Found in Fulton

FULTON - The Oswego County Health Department reported today that a skunk in the city of Fulton has tested positive for rabies. The skunk potentially exposed a person and two dogs to the rabies virus. The incident is still under investigation by the health department.

"This is the third rabid animal confirmed in Oswego County in the last two weeks," said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director. "Most recently, a rabid cat was confirmed in the town of Minetto."

He added that it is important for people keep their dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated against the rabies virus. The health department will hold its next rabies clinic from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at the Bristol Hill Landfill maintenance garage, 3125 state Route 3, Volney.

Additional clinics are scheduled at these locations this fall:

  • 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.

  • Dogs, cats and ferrets should receive their first rabies vaccine at three months of age. Ferrets must be vaccinated annually. Dogs and cats require a second vaccination within one year of the first, and every three years thereafter. 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 pet ferrets should be in a carrier. Please leave sick pets at home.

    The vast majority of rabies cases occur with wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Bats are a common carrier of rabies, and Huang 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 bat is found in the home, the health department advises residents to capture the bat so it may be tested for rabies. The state Department of Health has developed a short video with instructions on how to safely capture a bat indoors. To view the video, go to http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/.

    Animals with rabies may show changes in behavior such as being unusually tame or aggressive, varying degrees of paralysis, impaired mobility, have excessive drooling, or seizures.

    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.

  • Any time a person or pet is bitten by a domestic or wild animal, and any time that a person or pet comes in physical contact with a bat or a sick or suspicious-acting animal, the incident should be immediately reported to the Oswego County Health Department. To report a possible exposure, call the 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 or www.cdc.gov.

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