The Chenango County Health Department is advising residents there have been several cases of rabies identified in wildlife in the Norwich City limits recently.
Health officials say any wild animal that is acting strangely and in close proximity to residential areas should be considered dangerous.
People are reminded to avoid contact with wild animals, have pets vaccinated against rabies and take measures to keep pets away from wildlife, including keeping them on leash when outside a fenced yard.
Authorities say if your pet comes in contact with any rabies-suspected animals, while it is hard to resist, DO NOT handle your pet. If your animal needs attention, wear gloves, long sleeves and use extreme caution. Health officials say you can be exposed to rabies from lingering saliva on a pet’s fur. Pets should be isolated and the saliva allowed to dry. This will kill the rabies virus.
In spite of the warning about rabies, officials stress people should not kill animals that look healthy out of fear. If a wild animal is acting abnormally, you should report it to the authorities. In Chenango County, to report a suspected rabid animal, call Chenango County Environmental Health at 607-337-1673.
One problem wild animal is the skunk. Officials say residents should not trap and relocate skunks. Doing so spreads rabies to other areas. If you have a nuisance animal, call a professional wildlife control agent.
If you or a loved-one is bitten by a wild or domestic animal, wash the exposed site immediately with soap and water, seek medical attention and report the bite to public health officials.
The Chenango County Department of Health also has information about vaccinations for pets or residents can always contact their veterinarian.