Mineola, NY – The New York State Department of Health reported that a raccoon submitted for analysis has tested positive for rabies. The raccoon was recently collected in Hicksville by a licensed wildlife trapper. Raccoon rabies was first identified in Nassau County in 2004. Nassau County Department of Health has not reported a positive raccoon specimen since 2007.
In response to this finding, the Nassau County Department of Health is asking residents to call the Department of Health at 516-227-9663 if they see any dead raccoons for possible collection and rabies testing or any sick or abnormal acting animals.
Rabies is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal. However, the virus may also be transmitted when the saliva of a rabid animal comes into contact with cut, open, or scratched skin lesions. To protect yourself from exposure to possible rabies:
• Keep domestic animals (dogs, cats, ferrets) on a leash and keep livestock confined in the evenings.
• Verify that your pets have current rabies vaccination, including dogs, cats, ferrets, livestock and horses.
• Do not touch or have contact with any animal other than your own.
• Do not touch dying or dead animals. If you must move them, use a shovel, wear heavy rubber gloves and double bag the carcass.
• Advise your family against approaching any unknown animal -- wild or domestic -- especially those acting in an unusual way.
• Instruct your children to tell you immediately if they were bitten or scratched by any animal.
• Notify the Health Department if a bat is found in a room where adults or children were sleeping, or if an adult enters a room and finds a bat with a child.
• Do not feed unknown animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home.
• Keep garbage cans tightly covered and avoid storing any food outside.
New York State law requires all dogs, cats and domesticated ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies. If an unvaccinated pet or one that’s overdue for its vaccination comes in contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal, the pet must either be euthanized or strictly quarantined for six months. However, if a vaccinated animal comes into contact with a wild animal, it needs only a booster vaccination, but this immunization must be administered within five days of exposure. To protect your family and your pet, it is absolutely essential that your animals have up-to-date rabies inoculations.
Individuals bitten or scratched by any animal should immediately contact their physicians or seek medical help at a hospital emergency room and then call the Nassau County Department of Health at 516-227-9663.
For additional information on raccoon rabies visit the Nassau County Department of Health website at http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/2048/Rabies