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Oswego County Confirms Rabid Bat In Village Of Mexico

The Oswego County Health Department has confirmed this year’s second case of rabies, after a bat tested positive for the disease late last week. Syracuse.com reports that the bat was found in the village of Mexico, following a January case in which a raccoon tested positive in the city of Oswego.

“Bats are a common carrier of rabies,” Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said in a press release. “Although they rarely attack humans, bats may transmit the disease through any physical contact. If a bat is found indoors with a sleeping person or an unattended child or pet, people should try to capture and confine it for testing. Our staff is available around the clock to respond to such incidents.”

Rabies is a virus that affects the central nervous system of mammals leading to neurological complications and death, according to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention. Most reported cases occur in wild animals like bats, skunks, and raccoons. The disease spreads through bites, so household pets are vulnerable.

Huang said in the press release that the disease is preventable through immunization. The 37% to 47% of households that have dogs should make sure that their pet is up to date on rabies vaccinations. Cat owners should follow the same precautions, even if their animal does not go outdoors.

“New York State Public Health Law requires that all pet dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies,” she said. “The health department runs immunization clinics throughout the year to help meet this need in the community and I encourage residents to take advantage of these clinics to get their pets vaccinated.”

According to the Syracuse.com report, buy carisoprodol owners should also avoid feeding their pets outdoors, avoid feeding or touching unknown animals, block any openings to the home, stay away from animals showing rabies symptoms, and teach children how to protect themselves.

If a pet is bitten by a rabid animal, the CDC recommends euthanizing it as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the disease. As an alternative, owners can place their animals in isolation for six months and have them vaccinated one month before release. As pet health complications are often a financial burden, with surgical procedures costing $550 annually for dogs and $400 for cats, preventative care measures and quick emergency response are key.

Huang said in the county press release that the Health Department is prepared to assist residents in the event of a rabies emergency.

“Our staff is available around the clock to respond to incidents that involve possible exposure to a rabid animal,” she said. “If we determine that the animal needs to be tested, we will make arrangements to send it to the state Health Department laboratory near Albany. I ask residents to catch and keep the bat if they find a bat indoors and suspect the bat might have contacted people. This way we can have the animal tested if our department specialists determine that possible exposures have occurred, instead of letting exposed people experience multiple shots for prophylaxis.”

The county is urging anyone to contact the Health Department with any rabies-related health concerns or questions. You can reach their staff on weekdays at (315) 349-3564 and their answering service on weekends, holidays, and evenings at (315) 341-0086.

Photo by  Oren Peles