State Health Department: Rabid Animal Found in Public Area in Clinton County, Certain Individuals Urged To Get Tested

New Yorkers Should Take Precautions Against Rabies

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 16, 2013) – The New York State Department of Health (DOH) today urged individuals who may have come in contact with raccoons at the Peru public boat launch in Clinton County, on or before July 5, 2013, to contact their local health department. Testing has confirmed a raccoon sighted at the boat launch had rabies.

Three orphaned baby raccoons were found at the Peru public boat launch on July 5, 2013. People were observed nearby taking pictures and possibly touching the raccoons. The raccoons were picked up by a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) park ranger and transported to a wildlife rehabilitator. All three raccoons subsequently died, and one was submitted for rabies testing and confirmed to be rabid.

Anyone who had contact with the raccoons should be evaluated for potential rabies exposure. Exposure requires either a bite or saliva from the rabid animal being introduced into an open wound or mucous membrane.

"This incident serves as a reminder that rabies can be found throughout New York State and precautions must be taken when coming in contact with any type of wild animals," said State Health Commissioner, Nirav R. Shah M.D., M.P.H.

Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The virus is present in the saliva and nervous tissue of an infected animal. Rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes. Cats, dogs and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated or not up–to–date on their rabies vaccinations. Deer and large rodents, such as woodchucks, also can get rabies.

DOH offers the following tips to help New Yorkers protect themselves against rabies:

  • Enjoy wildlife from a distance. Don't feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or cats. If you see an animal that is sick, injured or orphaned, call an animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator. Do not handle the animal yourself.
  • Be sure your pet dogs, cats and ferrets as well as horses and valuable livestock animals are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccination protects pets if they are exposed to rabid animals. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors and allowed outside only under direct observation.
  • Keep family pets indoors at night. Don't leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
  • Don't attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods that may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cap or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.
  • If nuisance wild animals are living in parts of your home, consult with a nuisance wildlife control expert about having them removed. You can find wildlife control experts, who work on a fee-for-service basis, in your telephone directory under pest control.
  • Teach children not to touch any animal they do not know and to tell an adult immediately if they are bitten by any animal.
  • If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors who are outside. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control expert who will remove the animal for a fee.
  • Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to your county health department. If possible, do not let any animal escape that has possibly exposed someone to rabies.

The Clinton County Health Department would like to interview anyone who had contact with the raccoons as soon as possible. The phone number is 518-565-4870. For visitors to Clinton County who may have been exposed, contact your county health department.

For more information on rabies and rabies prevention, visit