Rabies is a viral disease which almost always leads to death, unless treatment is provided soon after exposure. New York State frequently leads the nation in the number of rabid animals
Seneca County Health Department Staff Urge Residents:
Take Precautions against Rabies Exposure
Seneca County Environmental Health Staff with the Seneca County Health Department remind all Seneca County residents to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against rabies exposure from bats and wild and stray animals.
The prevention of Rabies continues to be an important public health concern in Seneca County, said Thomas Scoles, Principal Sanitarian with the Seneca County Health Department. “Now that the warm weather is here, bats and wild animals become more active, so the possibility of human contact with animals that can transmit rabies increases. Scoles said, “Any contact with stray and wild animals and bats should be avoided.” If there is contact with a wild or stray animal, prompt notification to the Health Department is extremely important.
Rabies is an infectious disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. People and unvaccinated animals can get rabies from the bite of an infected animal or from animal saliva entering a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or break in the skin. Vaccine is given to individuals exposed to rabies to prevent the disease. Rabies is nearly always fatal if treatment is not received soon after exposure.
The rabies virus can infect any mammal including dogs, cats, livestock, wildlife and humans. The vast majority of rabies cases reported each year occur in wild animals, such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes, but domestic animals such as cats, dogs, ferrets, and horses can become infected.
The best way to prevent rabies in pets is to make sure their rabies vaccinations are up to date. Free rabies vaccination clinics for dogs, cats, and ferrets are offered quarterly by the Seneca County Health Department. For more information on upcoming Rabies Vaccination Clinics in Seneca County call (315) 539-1945.
In the event of a bite or potential exposure to rabies, the following measures should be taken immediately:
Wash the area of contact thoroughly with soap and water.
Seek medical attention from your health care provider.
Call your local health department to evaluate your risk for rabies, including whether rabies post-exposure treatment is recommended.
To help protect your family and your pets from rabies:
Never approach or handle any unknown wild or domestic animals.
Teach children never to approach any unfamiliar animal, even if the animal appears friendly. Instruct them to tell an adult immediately if they are bitten or scratched.
Prevent bats, raccoons, and other wild animals from entering homes or living spaces by sealing small openings, and keeping unscreened doors and windows closed.
If people or pets have contact with a bat, it is important to capture the bat safely so it may be tested for Rabies. Contact your local health department immediately if you find a bat in a room with a child, pet or if you wake up to a bat in your bedroom. To learn how to safely catch a bat go to:http://www.nyhealth.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/.
Keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up-to-date.
Do not feed wild or stray animals, and discourage them from seeking food near your home. Don’t leave your pets outside unattended, or let them roam free.
Keep garbage cans tightly covered, and avoid storing any food outside.
For more information on rabies and rabies prevention contact the Seneca County Health Department at (315) 539-1945 or visit the or visit the NYS DOH Web site
When You Wake Up and Find a Bat in Your Room
- Do not hit the bat in the head
- Do not throw it in the garbage
- Do not release it outside
- Safely capture the bat
How to Safely Capture a Bat
How to Safely Capture a Bat (.wmv) – health.ny.gov
- Put on gloves and close all doors to the room where the bat is located
- Remove children and animals from the room with the bat
- When the bat lands slowly place a can or box over it and
slide a piece of cardboard under the container to keep the bat inside
- Tape cardboard to the can or tape the box shut
- Remove gloves and wash your hands in warm soapy water for 20 seconds
- When you have safely captured the bat call the Seneca County Health Dept. at (315) 539-1945
The most up-to-date New York State Environmental Health regulations can be found at the following site.