Skunk Tests Positive for Rabies   

(Liberty, NY) - Sullivan County Public Health Services is notifying the public that a skunk has tested positive for the rabies virus in the Town of Callicoon. This is the second confirmed rabies case in a skunk, and the fourth positive case of animal rabies in Sullivan County this year.

The rabies virus is considered endemic and occurs commonly in wild animals throughout New York State, with the vast majority of rabies cases reported each year in bats, foxes, skunks and woodchucks.

What Can People Do To Protect Themselves Against Rabies?

Be sure your dogs, cats and ferrets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and humans. Protect them, and you protect yourself and family. Vaccines for dogs, cats and ferrets over three months of age are effective for a one-year period. Revaccinations are effective for up to three years. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors.

Don't try to separate two fighting animals. Wear gloves if you handle your pet after a fight. Keep family pets indoors at night. Don't leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.

Don't attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed, food garbage or other foods that may attract animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cap or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens. Don't feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or stray cats.

Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if they are bitten by any animal. Tell children not to touch any animal except their own.

If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors who are outside. If you can safely do so, don't let an animal escape that has bitten and possibly exposed someone or a family pet to rabies. Depending on the species, it can be observed or tested for rabies in order to avoid the need for rabies treatment for people, or to avoid euthanization or prolonged quarantined observation periods for exposed pets.

Seek treatment for all animal bites and report contact with wild animals to Sullivan County Public Health Services at (845) 292-5910. Someone is always on call and available after business hours.

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