Responding to an increase in cases of rabies in Essex County, the county Department of Public Health has added to its vaccination schedule.
“We have had several cases of rabies in the Champlain Valley area, most recently in the town of Elizabethtown,” Public Health Director Linda Beers said at the May 14 human services committee meeting. “We had added another clinic for rabies vaccine in Westport. They have had several cases as well.”
The clinic will be held Tuesday, May 22, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Westport Volunteer Fire Department.
According to a public health department release, several cases of rabies in wild animals in the Champlain Valley of Essex County have been confirmed.
“We remind all residents to avoid contact with stray cats, dogs and wild animals,” the statement adds. “It is essential for pet owners to make sure their pets are up to date with their rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between wild rabid animals and people. Essex County Public Health has offered rabies clinics throughout Essex County this spring.”
Vaccinations are offered at no charge, with a donation of $5 per pet accepted.
“It is very important not to feed, touch or adopt stray or wild cats or dogs,” Kathy Daggett, Director of Preventive Services for Essex County Public Health, said.
“Animals that are infected with the rabies virus do not always shows signs of being sick right away. Feeding, touching or adopting strays and wild animals can put families at real risk for rabies infection.”
If your pet has been injured by a suspected rabid animal, contact your veterinarian for medical care and the Public Health Department at 873-3500 to determine what additional follow-up may be needed. Also notify the department if there is contact with a bat, or a bat is found in a room with a young child or where someone is sleeping.
Visit www.co.essex.ny.us/publichealth for the full rabies clinic schedule.