A fox in New Hartford that bit 2 people and a skunk chasing a dog in the Town of Vernon both tested positive for rabies.

Flo The Skunk Arrives At Edinburgh Zoo
Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The skunk with rabies in the Town of Vernon came into contact with a dog that was not up to date with their rabies vaccine and is now in a  required a six-month quarantine being observed. Oneida County Director of Health, Phyllis D. Ellis, BSN, MS, F.A.C.H.E says:

“Thankfully, everything was handled properly. The appropriate health personnel was contacted immediately and there was no human contact with the animal. Unfortunately, this dog happened to be overdue on his rabies shots. Had he been up-to-date, he would not need to be quarantined.”

A fox also tested positive for rabies after biting two residents in the Town of New Hartford. According to New Hartford Chief of Police Michael Inserra, on 2/22/19 one resident was bitten by the fox walking along a roadway in town, and a second resident was approached by the fox and bitten as the resident exited a vehicle at the resident’s home in the same area. New Hartford Town Police responded, and the fox was killed.

The two residents were immediately started on rabies Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) treatment, which is a post-exposure vaccine given over 14 days.

For the safety of all, health department officials recommend the following:

  • Keep your pets’ rabies vaccinations up-to-date. Dogs, cats and ferrets 3-months and older must be vaccinated, even if they are kept indoors. Dogs and cats must be vaccinated at 3 months old, 1 year, and then once every 3 years. Ferrets must be vaccinated every year. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors.
  • Walk your pet on a leash.
  • Keep family pets indoors at night. Don't leave them outside unattended.
  • Do not touch or feed wild or unknown animals. Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if they are bitten by any animal.
  • Don't attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cap or put away garbage cans.
  • Don't try to separate two fighting animals. Wear gloves if you handle your pet after a fight.
  • Do not touch dead or sick animals and warn children to avoid wild or strange animals.
  • If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away, bring children and pets indoors, alert neighbors, and contact police, municipal, or wildlife control officials.
  • Learn the signs of rabies in animals.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have contact with an animal you think may be rabid.
  • Report all animal bites to the Health Department.

The Health Department offers rabies vaccination clinics throughout the year at various community locations. The next clinic is scheduled on March 22 at the Trenton Municipal Center from 6-7:30 pm. For more information on Rabies Prevention or a complete schedule of rabies clinics, contact the Oneida County Health Department at 315 798-5064 or log onto our web site at ocgov.net/oneida/health.


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