Cat in Oneida County Town of Marshall Tests Positive for Rabies, One Person Exposed
Health department officials are urging residents to be alert and aware of the signs of rabies after a domestic cat tested positive for rabies this week.
Officials say that the cat was sent to the New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center for testing on Friday, May 13, 2022 and results were reported to be positive the same day.
Known best for their work on bat rabies, the staff at the Rabies Laboratory at the Wadsworth Center works to prevent the spread of rabies throughout the state.
Authorities say that, to the best of their knowledge, only one person was exposed to the cat. That person has received treatment.
The Oneida County Health Department reminds residents that signs of rabies include the following:
- Strange behavior
- Animal acting "mad"
- Animal acting shy, but may attempt to get "unusually close"
- drooling or foaming from the mouth
Residents who believe that they have seen an animal with these signs are strongly cautioned not to approach it and call animal control or local law enforcement for help.
Rabies is contagious to human beings and other animals. If caught early rabies can be treated but if not, it can cause death.
Rabies vaccination clinics are held throughout the year in Oneida County and other counties across the state.
All cats, dogs, and ferrets that are three months old and older must have rabies vaccinations and remain current on those vaccinations, even if they are kept indoors.
Ferrets must receive the vaccinations annually. The Oneida County Department of Health says, "Dogs and cats must receive a rabies vaccination at three months old, one year, and then once every three years."
Information on Rabies Prevention can be accessed through the following:
- Oneida County: Oneida County Health Department: (315) 798.5064 https://www.ocgov.net//oneida/envhealth/MosquitoesTicksRabies.
- Madison County Health Department Environmental Health Division: (315) 366.2526. In 2022 Madison County is offering several free rabies clinics. More information on those can be found at: https://www.madisoncounty.ny.gov/440/Rabies-Clinics
- Herkimer County Health Department: (315) 867.1176 Free clinics are available in Herkimer County and appointments are recommended. https://www.herkimercounty.org/download/document.php?docid=356
Around the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 59,000 people die each year from rabies. Most of these deaths are in parts of the world where vaccines and vaccination programs are scarce. The CDC warns, however, that the number of rabies cases worldwide is much higher, since most of the cases are not human and are difficult to report.
In the United States death by rabies infection is rare. However, after no cases being reported in 2019 and 2020 in the U.S., according to a January 7, 2022 article by Jenny Gross in The New York Times, five rabies deaths were reported in the U.S. in 2021. That is the highest number in a decade, according to the article.