Two Skunks Test Positive For Rabies In Broome County

BINGHAMTON, NY - Two skunks collected from separate residential properties, one in the City of Binghamton and another in Whitney Point in the Town of Triangle, have tested positive for rabies. An investigation by county health officials indicates that each of the skunks had an encounter with a dog. One of the dogs was not current on its rabies vaccination. No direct human contact with the skunks resulted from either incident.

Rabies vaccination is mandatory by Public Health Law for dogs, cats and ferrets once they are four months old. If an unvaccinated pet is exposed to rabies, the owner must confine it to a cage for six months to observe it for signs or rabies or have the animal euthanized.

Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It is transmitted through the saliva of a rabid animal. You may also get rabies if the animal's saliva enters a scratch, an open cut, or a person's eyes, nose or mouth. If exposed, rabies is almost always fatal without post-exposure treatment.

The Broome County Health Department reminds people to avoid direct contact with unfamiliar or wild animals and to never bring them into your home. Protect your pet(s) by never allowing them to roam free. Consider keeping them indoors at night and make sure they get a rabies vaccination.

If you are bitten, scratched or have contact with an animal you believe to be rabid, immediately wash the wound, seek medical attention, and report the incident to the Broome County Health Department at 607.778.2887. After normal business hours, residents with urgent inquires can call, Broome County Emergency Dispatch at 607.778.1911. A dispatcher will then contact health department staff for you.

For more information on rabies visit the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/rabies/.