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November 18, 2016

Hunters Advised to be Aware of Rabies and Lyme Disease

With hunting season in full swing, the Oswego County Health Department is advising hunters to be aware of diseases such as rabies and Lyme disease that may affect wildlife.

To minimize the chances of exposure to rabies, hunters should be wary of any animals that act abnormally, including deer, raccoons, skunks, foxes and other mammals. Abnormal actions include aggressive or tame behavior, no fear of humans, aimless wandering, or appearing disoriented.

"Rabid deer are uncommon and most hunters will never encounter one," said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director. "However, any successful hunter will likely find ticks on the deer."

Although the risk of being bitten by a tick in late fall is relatively low, people should be aware of the risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease. To minimize the chances of being bitten by a tick, hunters, taxidermists, and others who spend time outdoors should check for ticks after being outside or handling wildlife carcasses.

Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases can be treated effectively when caught early. People who feel ill or develop a fever or rash after a potential tick bite should contact their primary care provider immediately.

Any contact with a suspicious-acting animal in Oswego County should be immediately reported to the County Health Department. To report possible rabies 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 department's answering service at 341-0086.

For additional information about rabies and related diseases visit the state Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/.

Hunters who would like to have their deer looked at by the state Department of Environmental Conservation may bring it to a deer check station. For more information, check the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7844.html.


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