Press-Republican

Local News

January 28, 2013

Rabies still active in North Country

PLATTSBURGH — Rabies continues to show a presence in Clinton County as two more rabid raccoons from the Peru area have been confirmed.

The first raccoon was identified in late December in the hamlet of Peru near Peru Central School. The second was found earlier this month on Calkins Road.

“Both raccoons were walking around in daylight and appeared to be obviously sick,” said Rita Mitchell of the Clinton County Health Department’s Environmental Division. “There was no reported exposure to people or domestic animals.”

In both cases, the animals were captured, dispatched and sent to the State Lab in Albany for testing, where results confirmed that they were indeed rabid.

RECENT INFECTIONS

Mitchell said it’s not that unusual to find rabid animals at this time of winter.

“Raccoons do tend to disperse in late fall and move into other areas.

“Most of the time, these animals hibernate at this time of year, so you tend to believe they are not in their normal cycle when you see them walking around,” she added.

The incubation period for rabies to become active in a mammal is usually just a few weeks, Mitchell noted, suggesting that the two most recent raccoons became infected later in the year.

2012 CASES

Two rabid skunks were identified in November 2012: one in AuSable and the second on Jabez Allen Road in Peru.

A skunk and raccoon from AuSable were also confirmed rabid earlier in 2012, and one bat from Chazy was confirmed rabid last July.

In 2012, Essex County reported 14 cases of rabid raccoons, along with two skunks and one woodchuck.

Franklin County has reported no cases of rabid animals in 2012.

MONITORING

The major culprit for these cases is a strain of the rabies virus that is predominantly carried by raccoons, though it can be spread to other mammals, including cats, dogs and humans.

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