AuSABLE — A gray fox in the Town of AuSable tested positive for rabies after biting a person there April 10.
The person is undergoing post-exposure shots, according to the Clinton County Health Department.
The fox is the fourth rabid animal confirmed in Clinton County since Jan. 1. A significant number of rabid animals have turned up in the southern part of the county and in northern Essex County over the past year.
“It is likely we will continue to deal with rabies throughout the spring and summer as wild animals move about the area,” Director of Public Health Jerie Reid said in a news release.
The Health Department warns the public to:
▶ Use caution around all wild animals, especially raccoons, skunks and foxes. Talk to children now about not approaching wildlife and to immediately tell a parent or adult if they see a wild animal.
▶ Have pets vaccinated against rabies immediately. New York state law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated by age 4 months. Vaccination is also recommended for livestock with frequent human contact.
▶ Report all animal bites to your local health department. If followup on the biting animal is not possible, the person may need rabies vaccinations to prevent the disease.
▶ Report all contact with bats, including finding a bat in the same room with a sleeping person.
▶ Have pets spayed or neutered because that decreases undesirable behavior, like aggression and roaming, and reduces the number of unwanted animals that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
▶ Secure all garbage in containers that will keep wild animals out.
▶ Do not feed wildlife or stray animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home. Feed pets indoors; leaving food outside will attract strays or wildlife.
▶ Do not transport or relocate trapped wild animals.
▶ Don’t leave puppies, kittens and other small pets outside alone, even in a fenced area.
▶ Wear gloves before handling your pet if it has had a fight with a wild animal, and call the health department or your veterinarian for advice on what to do next.
If an unvaccinated pet comes in contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal, the pet must be quarantined for six months or euthanized.
Vaccinated pets that come in contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal must be given a booster rabies vaccination within five days of the contact.
SUMMER ON CALL
Following approval by the Clinton County Legislature, the Health Department’s Environmental Health and Safety Division will be on call starting Memorial Day and ending in October.
Trained staff will be available on weekends to handle rabies calls if they occur.
The system has been activated yearly over the last 10 years each spring over the last decade due to ongoing rabies issues in Clinton County.
To report possible rabies incidences in Clinton County, call 565-4870 or go to www.clintonhealth.org.
Call the Essex County Health Department at 873-3500 to report a contact or if you have any questions. Visit www.co.essex.ny.us/PublicHealth for more information about rabies and rabies clinics offered by the department.
The Malone office of the Franklin County Public Health Department can be reached at 481-1709 and the Saranac Lake office at 891-4471.