CHENANGO COUNTY – The Chenango County Health Department’s Public Health division, in concert with the Norwich City Police Department, has issued a rabies advisory.
“Rabies has been identified in local wildlife,” reads the advisory, “Any wild animal acting strangely in close proximity to residential areas should be considered dangerous.”
Authorities caution people to be on high alert as rabies is an extremely dangerous and potentially fatal virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans via a bite from the infected or even through contaminated saliva. Any mammal animal can contract the virus, even creatures such as squirrels, although only larger animals are truly considered to be a threat. The most dangerous domestic animals are cats – in regards to the tranmission of rabies – as they tend to roam more often, and vaccines are rarely administrated to strays.
The vaccine is considered 100 percent effective if administrated in its entirety; however, if a pet has a row with an animal and it is covered in contaminated saliva, the virus can be transmitted.
“If a dog tangles with an animal, it can be covered in secondary saliva and often times pet owners first inclination is to hug their animals after they have been hurt,” said Chenango County Director of Environmental Health Isaiah Sutton. Even if it’s a questionable exposer, Sutton strongerly encourages people to call the Chenango County Health Department. “We would rather have the conversation, and it end up being nothing than having an incident go unreported.”