Lewis County sees first rabies cases of the year; four people being treated for disease
Lewis County Public Health reported four people in Lewis County are receiving treatment for possible rabies exposure after three animals recently tested positive for the disease.
According to Supervising Public Health Nurse Marcia Ashline, two barn cats were the source of possible exposure to their owners, one in Denmark and the other in New Bremen.
A skunk in West Turin was also found rabid, but was determined not to have had contact with humans or domestic animals.
The three cases are the first to test positive in Lewis County this year.
In Jefferson County, out of 83 animals tested, seven tested positive for rabies -- three raccoons and four skunks.
In St. Lawrence County there have been two animals found to have rabies out of 48 submitted. A gray fox in the Town of Fine and a raccoon in Gouverneur both tested positive in February.
According to St. Lawrence County Public Health Director James Rich, 17 people in the county have met the exposure criteria for treatment to date this year.
Free rabies clinics to vaccinate domestic animals are held throughout the year in St. Lawrence County by the Public Health office. Lewis County is also planning a rabies clinic for September.
Rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with rabies. Pets and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated to protect them against infection. The best way to keep pets safe from rabies is to vaccinate them and keep their shots up to date.
Beginning on August 7, Northern New York will take part in a field trial of oral rabies vaccines to reduce the spread of the disease in wildlife. Bait, created to be harmless to domestic pets, containing the vaccine in pill form will be spread throughout the region.