Raccoon in Antwerp tests positive for rabies


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (March 10, 2020) – Officials at the New York State Department of Health laboratory have reported to the Jefferson County Public Health Service that a raccoon has tested positive for rabies. The raccoon was located in the town of Antwerp and submitted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for testing. There were no known 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 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.


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. The next rabies vaccination clinic will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. March 19 at Jefferson County Dog Control.
  • 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.

To find information about other upcoming clinics, follow Jefferson County Public Health Service on Facebook at facebook.com/JCPHS/.


(Jefferson County Public Health Service)