Dead fox with rabies found in Niagara County

Niagara County

HARTLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — A case of rabies has been confirmed in Niagara County.

The animal with the disease was a red fox found on Seaman Rd. in the Town of Hartland. A trapper found it dead and reportedly skinned the animal.

Following this, the animal’s carcass was shipped for testing as part of routine surveillance.

“The specimen was properly stored by USDA enabling them to submit the sample for accurate testing,” the county’s Associate Supervisory Sanitarian, Scott Ecker, said. “Generally, at ambient temperatures, the rabies virus is only viable for a short period of time after death of the infected animal.”

The trapper was evaluated to see if any post-exposure treatment was necessary.

Niagara County has given these precautions for preventing exposure to rabies from both wild and domestic animals.

  • Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or feral cats.
  • Be sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and man. Protect them, and you may reduce your risk of exposure to rabies. Dogs and cats that receive rabies vaccine after three months of age are protected for a one-year period. Revaccinations are effective for up to three years with proof of previous vaccination. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors. The Niagara County Department of Health will conduct free rabies clinics in 2020 and will post those dates on our website once the schedule is finalized.
  • Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
  • Don’t attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods which may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cover, or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.
  • Encourage children to immediately tell adults if they are bitten by any animals. Tell children not to touch any animals they do not know.
  • If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors that are outside. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control officer who will remove the animal for a fee; or if there is danger, you can call your local law enforcement agency.
  • If your pet has been in a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate it from other animals and people for several hours. Call your veterinarian. Your vaccinated pet will need a booster dose of rabies vaccine within five days of the exposure. Unvaccinated animals exposed to a known or suspected rabid animal must be confined for six months or humanely destroyed.

All animal bites or contact with wild animals should be reported to the Niagara County Department of Health’s Environmental Division at (716) 439-7444, or after hours at (716) 439-7430.

More rabies can be found here.

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