UPPER JAY — A rabid raccoon was found wandering in Jay’s hamlet of Upper Jay this week.

The animal’s discovery led officials to issue a public warning Thursday.

Essex County Public Health Director of Preventive Services Kathy Daggett said there was no human exposure to the raccoon, however.

“We want people to know (rabies is) in their neighborhood. It’s moving toward the center of the county.”

The Public Health Department said that other animals have been confirmed with rabies during the past year in several areas of the county, including Wilmington, Jay, Elizabethtown, Westport, Essex, Ticonderoga, Chesterfield and Willsboro.

Another rabid raccoon was identified in Jay in July, and one in Wilmington in August, Daggett said.

The most unusual case was a rabid groundhog found in Ticonderoga in June, since that species rarely contracts the disease.

The Public Health Department said all residents should avoid contact with stray or wild animals and cats and dogs that are unknown to them. If a contact occurs, notify the Essex County Public Health Department at 873-3500.

To report incidences in Clinton County, call that Health Department at 565-4870 or go to www.clintonhealth.org. A rabid raccoon, the first identified in that county in 15 years, was shot by a resident in Black Brook earlier this month.

The Malone office of the Franklin County Public Health Department is at 481-1709, and the Saranac Lake office at 891-4471.

It is essential for pet owners to make sure their pets are up to date with their rabies vaccinations, health officials said. If an unvaccinated pet comes in contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal, it must be strictly quarantined for six months.

Vaccinated animals that come in contact with wild animals must be given a booster rabies vaccination within five days. Owners of domestic farm animals should contact their veterinarians about vaccination.

Residents are also reminded to notify Essex County Public Health if there is contact with a bat or if a bat is found in a room with a young child or where someone is sleeping.

Public Health will submit wild animals and bats for rabies testing if they have had contact with humans or pets or have displayed unusual behavior.

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