2 rabid raccoons found in Watertown

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 10:12 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Jefferson County Public Health Service says two raccoons found in the city of Watertown have tested positive for rabies.

The JCPHS says the raccoons were submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for testing.

There were no known human or pet exposures.

JCPHS warns that rabies is a fatal disease that can take up to several months for symptoms to appear.

They also warn that any mammal can get rabies and is often seen in bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.

Animals do not have to be aggressive or behave erratically to have rabies. Changes in any animal’s normal behavior can be early signs of rabies.

JCPHS recommends these steps to help prevent rabies from spreading:

1. Teach children to stay away from unfamiliar animals, either wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Remind them to tell you if they have any unusual contact with an animal.

2. Do not leave pet food outside as it attracts wildlife to your home.

3. Wash any wound from an animal encounter thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

4. Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. Getting your pet vaccinated by your vet or at a clinic (check with your local pet supply store) can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans. JCPHS is hosting a rabies vaccination clinic at Jefferson County Dog Control from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 20. Visit www.jcphs.org for more information.

5. Monitor your pets when they are outside. If your pet is involved in an altercation with a wild animal, do not get in between them. Do not touch your pet without gloves as rabies is spread through saliva. Cover your pet with a towel and contact your vet as your pet may need a booster shot.