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Rabid raccoon confirmed in Lockport

by jmaloni


Fri, Jun 13th 2014 08:30 pm

by the Niagara County Department of Health

Laboratory results for a raccoon found recently on High Street in the area of Beattie Road, Lockport, are positive for rabies. This confirmation is not a normal occurrence; the Niagara County Department of Health would like to advise the public of what they can do to protect themselves against rabies.

Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or feral cats.

Be sure dogs and cats are up-to-date with rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and man, reducing the risk of human exposure to rabies. Rabies vaccine administered to dogs and cats at age three months and older affords protection for one year. Revaccinations in dogs and cats are effective for up to three years. Ferrets must receive rabies vaccine every year for protection.

Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave pets unattended or let them roam free outside. Keep pets too young to receive vaccinations indoors at all times. New vaccines may be available for some younger animals.

Do not attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored birdseed or other food that may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cover, or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.

Instruct children not to touch any animals they do not know, and to notify adults immediately, if bitten by any animal.

If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors, and alert neighbors of the situation. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control officer, who will remove the animal for a fee; or, if there is danger, you may call your local law enforcement agency.

Never try to separate two fighting animals. If your pet has been in a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate the pet from other animals and people for several hours. Call your veterinarian. Your vaccinated pet will need a booster dose of rabies vaccine within five days of the exposure. Unvaccinated animals exposed to a known or suspected rabid animal must be confined for six months for observation or humanely destroyed.

Bats can carry rabies. Do not let a bat escape if it has made skin contact or found in a room with a sleeping person, unattended child, or someone with mental impairment. Bats may pose a risk of rabies transmission under these conditions. Bats have small, sharp teeth, and in certain circumstances people can be bitten and not know it. Never touch a bat with your bare hands. Contact the Environmental Health Division for instructions on how to capture a bat safely for rabies testing to avoid the need for human post-exposure rabies.

Bats can be particularly difficult to keep out of buildings, as they can squeeze through cracks as small as a pencil. Fall and winter are the best times to use methods to keeps bats out of homes and summer camps. If bats are roosting inside an attic or other areas, consult with the division about humane ways to remove them before humans are exposed.

Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to the Niagara County Department of Health Environmental Division at 716-439-7444 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or 716-439-7430 (after hours).

The Niagara County Department of Health offers free rabies clinics to county residents. The next clinic dates and locations are:

•Saturday, June 14, Niagara Falls - Hyde Park Oasis/Centennial Pavilion (behind ice arena), 911 Robbins Drive, 2 to 4 p.m.

•Saturday, July 12, Town of Wilson - Highway Department Garage, 3356 Wilson-Cambria Road, 2 to 4 p.m.

•Saturday, Sept. 20, Town of Lockport - Highway Department Garage, 6560 Dysinger Road, 2 to 4 p.m.

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