Reporting Rabies Exposures
Yates County Public Health staff is available around the clock to respond to rabies questions and potential exposures. To report a possible rabies exposure or animal bite during business hours call Yates County Public Health at 315-536-5160 or toll free at 866-212-5160. To report a possible rabies exposure or animal bite after hours call the Yates County Sheriff's Office at 315-536-4438 and ask for the Public Health staff on call.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease transmitted through a bite or exposure to the saliva of a rabid animal. Human cases of rabies are rare in the United States due to pet vaccination programs and the availability of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). In 2015, Yates County had 3 raccoons and one fox test positive for rabies. Keep your pets and family safe by ensuring pets have a current rabies vaccination and avoid contact with wild animals. Report any animal bites or contact with wild animals to Yates County Public Health.
All puppies and kittens need to be vaccinated at 3 months of age. Until pets are vaccinated and for 2 weeks after vaccination, owners need to take extra precaution to protect puppies and kittens from rabies exposure. Pets should not be taken to dog parks or other public places until all of their vaccinations are up to date.
Steps to Avoid Exposure to Rabies
- Avoid contact with any wild animals, including feral cats.
- Don't feed, touch or adopt stray animals.
- Don't attract animals to your home or yard by leaving out food.
- Tightly cap garbage cans.
- Board up any openings in your attic, basement, or garage.
- Tell children not to touch any animal that they do not know and to get permission from the pet's owner first.
- Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if they are bitten by an animal.
Bats in older homes and cottages are quite common in Yates County. Most bats don't have rabies. Even among bats submitted for rabies testing for obvious signs of illness, only about 6% tested positive for rabies nation wide. Yates county submitted 14 bats for testing in 2015 and they all tested negative. Though the risk is very low, most cases of human rabies in the United States are caused by exposures to bats that were not reported.
Any bat that is active during the day, weak or unable to fly, or is found somewhere it is not supposed to be, like your home or lawn, is potentially rabid. Keep pets and children away from bats. Report any bats found in a room with a sleeping person, or an unattended child to Yates County Public Health. If possible attempt to catch the bat in container such as a coffee can or waste basket and contact Public Health to find out if it needs to be sent for rabies testing.
Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, camps, churches, schools, and other areas where they might contact people and pets. For more information about bat proofing your home click here.
Watch the video below to learn how to catch a bat!