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May 5, 2017

Rabid Bat Found in Albion; Cat Must be Quarantined for Six Months

OSWEGO COUNTY - The Oswego County Health Department reported today that a bat has tested positive for rabies in the town of Albion. As a result of its exposure to the rabid bat, a house cat which had not been vaccinated must be placed in quarantine for six months. This is the second case of rabies confirmed in the past week, and the third this year in Oswego County.

"Bats are a common carrier of rabies and even cats that are not allowed to go outside can be exposed to rabies if a bat or other rabid animal enters the home," said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. "Bats can end up in the home and expose pets and people to rabies. Cats are more at risk of contracting rabies from a rabid bat because they can catch bats. All cats must be vaccinated, even if they're considered indoor pets."

Any time a bat is found in the home, residents should contact the county Health Department as soon as possible. The staff will investigate to determine the threat of exposure to people and pets.

"Our staff is available around the clock to respond to such incidents," said Huang.

To report a possible exposure, call the Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3564. In an emergency during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the department's answering service at 315-341-0086.

Huang said the New York State Department of Health has developed "Catch a Bat Safely," a video with instructions on how to capture a bat in the home. The video is posted at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/.

New York State Public Health Law requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies.

"The Oswego County Health Department holds immunization clinics throughout the year to help meet this need in the community," said Huang. "I encourage residents to take advantage of these clinics to get their pets vaccinated."

Rabies clinics will be held at these locations this year:

Any time a person or pet comes in contact with a sick or suspicious-acting animal, the incident should be reported to the county health department as soon as possible. A bite or scratch on the skin should be washed immediately with soap and water.

To reduce the risk of rabies in animals and humans, people should take the following steps:

For more information about rabies, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3564. In an emergency during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the health department's answering service at 315-341-0086.

For more information visit www.oswegocounty.com/health/rabies.pdf or facebook.com/Oswegocountyhealth/.

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