Rabies Awareness Update - Notice Of Rabies Vaccination Clinics

BINGHAMTON, NY - Animal rabies continues to be a serious public health problem in New York State and Broome County. During 2004, the Broome County Health Department investigated 676 animal bites and potential exposures, resulting in 92 individuals undergoing rabies post-exposure treatment. A total of 170 specimens were sent to the New York State laboratory for rabies testing. Of the 170 specimens sent, 11 tested positive for rabies. These positive specimens included 2 raccoons, 5 bats, 3 foxes, and 1 skunk. To date in 2005, the Broome County Health Department has already sent 8 animal specimens to the New York State Health Department laboratory for rabies testing because of encounters with humans and animals. Two of these specimens tested positive; 1 bat and 1 raccoon. The range of animal specimens involved in human and animal encounters makes it clear that wild animals, domesticated animals, pets and strays could potentially have rabies.

Broome County residents can protect themselves and their pets from rabies by having them vaccinated at one of the rabies clinics planned for the spring and summer. For the month of April a Rabies Vaccination Clinic will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2005, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Floral Avenue Fire Station in Johnson City. An additional clinic will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2005, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Vestal Fire Station #4 located on the Vestal Parkway, Vestal.

According to New York State law, if an unvaccinated pet is exposed to rabies, the owner may either have the animal euthanized or confine it to a cage for six months. Under the current law, an animal that has not been actively immunized against rabies at the time it bites a person must be confined, at the owner's expense, in a shelter, veterinarian's office, kennel or farm, for 10 days. Under the state law, if you feed a stray animal on your property, you are considered the owner.

Residents should regard all stray and wild animals as being potentially rabid. It is important that parents teach children to stay away from all wild animals and pets they do not know. Children should be discouraged from playing with stray pets. Teach children to tell an adult if they have contact with a wild animal or a stray pet. If your child is bitten by a domestic animal, make sure to get the pet owner's name and telephone number. This could eliminate the need for your child to undergo post-exposure treatment. Rabies in humans is always fatal, however prompt post-exposure treatment can prevent it.

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 inquiries can call Broome County Emergency Dispatch at 607.778.1911. A dispatcher will then contact health department staff for you.

The Broome County Health Department urges all residents to take these common sense steps to avoid exposure to rabies:

  • Although a bite from a rabid animal is the most common way for rabies to be transmitted, seek medical advice regarding exposure after any contact with an animal that may be rabid.
  • Avoid contact with any wild animal. Be especially suspicious of wild animals that are unusually tame or aggressive. Do not attract raccoons to your yard by feeding them. Tightly cap garbage cans and do not feed pets outside.
  • Avoid contact with any stray pets, especially cats.
  • Do not handle pets with bare hands for several hours after any involvement with a suspected rabid wild animal. Pet owners should keep a pair of thick gloves handy for just such situations. Always wash your hands afterwards.
  • Avoid contact with the saliva of any animal, including pets, that may be rabid or that may have been exposed to rabies.
  • Seek advice regarding bat roosts in homes.
  • For more information about rabies, contact the Broome County Health Department Division of Environmental Health at 607.778.2887.

To hear information about rabies and a list of the Rabies Vaccination clinics call the Broome County Health Department Recorded Information Line at 607.778.3911, option 1. To see a list of the clinic dates visit www.goBroomeCounty.com/hd and follow the links for Rabies Information.

Online calendar of Rabies Clinics

02/14/2005 - 1:50pm