The Chenango County health department is advising residents to stay away from wildlife and have their pets vaccinated against rabies.

Officials warn rabies has been identified in local wildlife and any wild animal acting strangely near residential areas should be considered dangerous.

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getty-stock-thinkstok-karllumbriaco
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In a news release issued August 18 by the Environmental Health/ Health Education Division, residents are told to protect themselves, family and pets they should vaccinate pets for rabies.  Dogs and cats should be up-to-date on rabies vaccinations and dogs should be wearing a current license tag on their collar. Anyone, in or out of Chenango County, can contact their veterinarian or local health department of information on rabies vaccinations.

If a pet has had interaction with any animal suspected of having rabies, the owner should not handle their pet. The Health Department says:  “If you must attend to your pet, wear gloves, long sleeves and use extreme caution. You can be exposed to rabies from lingering saliva on a pet’s fur.  The pet should be isolated and allow the saliva to dry. This will kill the virus.” 

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
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It is advised pet owners keep pets on a leash when outside a fenced yard.

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One of the nice things about living in rural areas is the chance to view wildlife.  Wild animals, however, should be enjoyed from a distance. Do not attempt to feed, approach or touch wildlife. Do not trap and relocate skunks. This can spread rabies to other areas. If you have a nuisance animal, contact a professional wildlife control agent.  If you see an animal acting abnormally, for example showing no fear of people or bats that fall to the ground, contact Environmental Health officials.

If you or a loved-one is bitten by a wild or domestic animal, wash the exposed site immediately with soap and water, seek medical care and report the bite to public health officials.

While authorities want people to be careful, they also don’t want people to overreact.  The Health Department advisory says: “Do NOT kill healthy appearing animals merely due to this warning!"  

For more information call (607) 337-1673.

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