Officials report fox in Ellisburg tests positive for rabies


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (April 16, 2020) – The New York State Department of Health laboratory has reported to the Jefferson County Public Health Service (JCPHS) that a fox in the town of Ellisburg has tested positive for rabies. The fox attacked two people, who are undergoing rabies post-exposure treatment. The animal was dispatched after the attack occurred.

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 in 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.

Take these steps to help prevent the spread of rabies:

  • 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.

  • Do not feed strays or wild animals. This attracts them to your home, increasing the risk of transmission of disease to people and pets.

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

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

  • Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. Getting your pet vaccinated by your veterinarian or at a clinic can help to stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans.

  • Monitor your pets when they are outside. If your pet is involved in an altercation with a wild animal, do not get 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.

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(Jefferson County Public Health Service)