Niagara County Department of Health to Offer Five Free Rabies Immunization Clinics in 2017
Animal rabies continues to be a serious public health concern in Niagara County. Rabies is a viral disease that nearly always results in death of the animal that is not adequately protected with a rabies vaccination. In 2016, the Niagara County Department of Health investigated 580 animal bite cases. Rabies was tested for in 130 animals and confirmed in 11 animals (7 raccoons, 3 bats, 1 cat). Human contact with a suspect rabid animal requires post exposure treatment.
Vaccinated pets that come in contact with suspect rabid animals receive a 45 day check of their health from the Department and require a rabies booster shot. Pets with expired vaccinations that come in contact with suspect rabid animals must receive a rabies booster shot and may be allowed a modified confinement with NCDOH approval. Unvaccinated pets that come in contact with suspect rabid animals must be destroyed or undergo a strict 6 month quarantine at the owner's expense.
The Niagara County Department of Health would like to remind County residents of the following precautions to prevent exposure to rabies from wildlife and domestic animals: Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or feral cats. Be sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and human. Protect them, and you may reduce your risk of exposure to rabies. Dogs and cats that receive rabies vaccine after three months of age are protected for a one year period. Revaccinations may be effective for up to three years. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors. By law, all cats, dogs, and ferrets must have current rabies vaccinations from four months of age and on.
The Niagara County Department of Health will conduct five free Rabies Immunization Clinics in 2017.
Saturday, March 11 (2 -4 pm) Town of Somerset Highway Garage, 8700 Haight Rd.
Saturday, June 10 (9-11 am) Niagara Falls, Hyde Park-Oasis/Centennial Pavilion, 911 Robbins Dr.
Saturday, July 15 (9-11 am) Town of Wilson Highway Garage, 3356 Wilson-Cambria Rd.
Saturday, September 16 (9-11 am) Town of Lockport Highway Garage, 6560 Dysinger Rd.
Saturday, December 2 (2-4 pm) North Tonawanda Public Works Department, 758 Erie Ave. Pre-Registration for the clinics is available online at WWW.NiagaraCounty.Com/Health
Bat rabies continues to be of particular concern. People have died in the United States (including New York) from bat-associated rabies. The cases almost always report family members recalling a bat in the home, but the possibility of exposure did not occur to them at the time of the incidents. Niagara County residents must remain aware of the risk for rabies from any contact with a bat. Once illness occurs, rabies is invariably fatal. However, timely and complete post-exposure treatment is effective at preventing illness from occurring. If you find a bat in your home, do not release or discard it. Immediately contact the NCDOH-Environmental Health Division at 439-7444 or 439-7430 to discuss the details of the case.