Health officials report cat tests positive for rabies


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (June 20, 2019) The New York State Department of Health laboratory has reported to the Jefferson County Public Health Service that a stray cat tested positive for rabies. The cat was located in the town of Hounsfield with another cat and three kittens. All five animals were euthanized. There were no known human or other pet exposures.

Rabies is a fatal disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. It can take several weeks or months for symptoms to appear. Early treatment after an exposure can prevent rabies in humans and 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.


To help prevent the spread of rabies, take these steps:

* 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.

* Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. Getting your pet vaccinated by your vet or at a clinic can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans. Follow the Jefferson County Public Health Service Facebook page to find upcoming clinic information as it is scheduled.

* 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.

* Monitor your pet while it is 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.

For more information about rabies, visit


(Jefferson County Public Health Service)