Tips to Avoid Deadly Rabies Virus & Identify Possibly Infected Animals
Officials in the Troy, New York, area are advising local residents to be aware of any strange-acting wildlife in the Rensselaer County area after two rabid raccoons were discovered earlier in the week.
The Rensselaer County Department of Health said the raccoons were discovered in Troy and Wynantskill — in Troy near Brunswick Avenue and Congress Street, and on Geneva Boulevard in Wynantskill, according to WNYT, the local NBC affiliate in the Albany area.
Residents in Rensselaer Country should remain cautious of all wild animals, not just raccoons, and keep their pets inside.
Foxes, skunks, raccoons, or even domesticated animals will show signs of what is referred to as "aggressive rabies," said Catseye Pest Control Wildlife Expert Paul Dube.
"Signs to watch out for in these animals include chittering, convulsions, unsteady balance, walking in circles, and unprovoked aggressive behavior," Dube added.
Rabies can infect any mammal and is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, through scratches or bites, or via the animal's spinal fluid.
“Infected animals will walk right up to people and do not exhibit any inherent fear that is typical of their species,” Dube said. “Any animal suspected of being rabid should be caught and tested by a trained professional as soon as possible.”
Preventative measures that can and should be taken to protect yourself, your pets, and your home from rabies include:
- Ensuring your animals are up to date on their rabies vaccine
- Keeping pets under direct supervision and on a leash if not fenced in
- Contacting local animal control to handle or remove stray animals
- Avoiding any direct contact with feral or stray animals, even if they appear friendly
- Securing lids on garbage cans to eliminate wild animals’ temptation
- Bringing pet food or water sources inside that is typically left out overnight
- Anyone bit or scratched by a wild or stray animal should seek medical attention immediately and report the injury to the Rensselaer County Department of Health at (518) 270-2655.
“If you or anyone you know is bit by an animal unknown to you, seek medical attention immediately,” Dube warned. “Once symptoms appear, it’s often too late. Survival is rare even with treatment.”