Raccoon in Watertown tests positive for rabies


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (April 2, 2020) – The New York State Department of Health laboratory has reported to the Jefferson County Public Health Service that a raccoon has tested positive for rabies. This raccoon was located in the city of Watertown on Gotham Street and submitted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for testing. There were no human or domestic animal exposures reported.

Rabies is a fatal disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. It can take several weeks to several months for rabies symptoms to appear. Early treatment after an exposure can prevent rabies in humans, as well as pets that are up-to-date on vaccination. Any mammal can get rabies, but it is most often seen in bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. Animals with rabies may be aggressive, sick or unusually friendly.

Please take these steps to help prevent the spread of rabies:

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 feed stray or wild animals. This attracts them to your home, increasing the risk of transmission of disease to people and pets.

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

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

5. Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. Follow Jefferson County Public Health Service on Facebook to be alerted when rabies vaccination clinics will resume.

6. 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.


(Jefferson County Public Health Service)