April sees two more rabies cases in Oneida County

By WKTV News

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. - The Oneida County Health Department says that two more cases of animal rabies have been reported in Oneida County in April, bringing the number of positive rabies reports in Oneida County so far this year up to four.

A raccoon that attacked a group of children playing outside their home earlier this week in the Town of Vienna tested positive for the rabies virus, Oneida County Health Department officials confirmed on Monday. One child was exposed to the animal that was subsequently killed by a neighbor during the attack.

Health officials said the child is undergoing post-exposure rabies treatment.

Earlier this month, a bat was found in the bathtub of a home in Utica by the residents who had been sleeping in an adjoining bedroom. Due to the proximity to where the bat was found, both adults are receiving post-exposure treatment for rabies.

"While most bats aren't rabid, some do carry the virus so it's important that the animal be captured and tested for rabies if there's a chance you or a family member has been exposed," said Bobbi Jo Kahl, Rabies Prevention and Treatment Program Coordinator said.

Officials urge anyone who finds a bat in their sleeping quarters, or that of a child or incapacitated person to capture the animal and contact the Oneida County Health Department at 315-798-5064 to arrange for testing. Never allow the bat to escape if there is any chance of human exposure, health officials warn.

An instruction video explaining the proper method to capture a bat can be viewed on the health department's web site at ocgov.net/oneida/health.

"The teeth of a bat can be so fine and sharp that you could be bitten while you sleep and not even be aware," Kahl said.

Kahl also reminded residents to avoid contact with stray or wild animals and to report any animal bites. Having your pets vaccinated against rabies is the best way to limit the spread of the virus. Under New York State Law, all dogs, cats and ferrets three months and older must be vaccinated. The Oneida County Health Department sponsors a series of rabies clinics throughout the year and administer the vaccine for a $10 fee.

The next clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, May 8th at the Clark Mills Firehouse form 5-7 pm.

For more information on rabies prevention and a complete schedule of rabies clinics visit The Oneida County Health Department's Web Site.

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