Rabies awareness reminder from Delaware County Public Health

By WBNG News

Rabies awareness reminder from Delaware County Public Health

June 6, 2013 Updated Jun 6, 2013 at 6:42 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Animal Rabies continues to be a serious public health problem in New York State. New York State frequently leads the nation in the number of rabid animals.

With warm weather upon us, and increased contact between wildlife and people and their pets, Delaware County Public Health reminds all Delaware County residents that it is prepared to help anyone who may have been exposed to rabies or who has questions about the disease.

According to a news release:

Staff of Delaware County Public Health are available around the clock to respond to rabies questions.  Routine inquiries and requests for information can be obtained by calling 607-832-5200 during business hours.  After normal business hours, residents with urgent inquiries can call (607)-746-2336.

Pet owners need to know that New York State law requires all dogs, cats, and domesticated ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies.  If an unvaccinated pet or one that’s overdue on its vaccination comes in contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal, the pet must either be destroyed or strictly quarantined for six months.

It is essential that pet owners make sure that their animals are immunized against rabies, and that their vaccinations are kept up-to-date.  Vaccinated animals that come in contact with wild animals can be given booster vaccinations, but these shots must be given within 5 days of exposure.

For the convenience of local pet owners, Delaware County Public Health holds rabies clinics throughout the county.  The rabies vaccination clinic schedule can be found at www.delawarecountypublichealth.com. 

If you find a bat in your home, do not release or discard it, but immediately contact Delaware County Public Health.

Delaware County Public Health urges all residents to take these common sense steps to avoid exposure to rabies.

• If you are bitten, scratched or have contact with an animal you believe to be rabid, immediately wash the wound with soap and water, seek medical attention and report the incident to Delaware County Public Health.

• To avoid unnecessary treatments, all potentially rabid animals that may have exposed someone should be confined and observed or tested for rabies.  Contact Delaware County Public Health for more information.

• Although a bite from a rabid animal is the primary way for rabies to be transmitted, contact Delaware County Public Health regarding any contact with an animal that may be rabid.

• Avoid contact with any wild animal.  Be suspicious of wild animals that are unusually tame or aggressive, especially those that attack your pets.  Do not attract raccoons to your yard by feeding them or feeding your pets outside.

• Do not handle pets with bare hands for several hours after any involvement with a suspected rabid wild animal.  Pet owners should keep a pair of thick gloves handy for just such situations, and should bathe pets after wildlife encounters whenever possible.

• Avoid contact with the saliva of any animal that may be rapid.

• Do not release bats found in home or cabins and seek advice from Delaware County Public Health about what to do with the bat.  Immediately report any possible contact with bats, and such situations as bats in rooms or camp cabins with sleeping persons, unattended children, or individuals with mental impairment.

For more information or questions about rabies call Delaware County Public Health at (607)-832-5200.