Raccoon in Watertown tests positive for rabies

·1 min read

Sep. 23—WATERTOWN — A raccoon in Jefferson County has tested positive for rabies, according to the state Department of Health.

The rabid raccoon was found in Watertown and was submitted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for testing. The Jefferson County Public Health Service says there are no known pet or human exposures.

Rabies is considered a fatal disease and may take up to several weeks or months for symptoms to appear. Early treatment after exposure can prevent rabies in both pets and humans who are up to date on vaccination.

Rabies is mostly found in bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can get rabies.

In order to prevent the spread of rabies, the Jefferson County Public Health Service says people should teach children to stay away from unfamiliar animals, either wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly and remind them to tell you if they have had unusual contact with an animal. The agency also says not to leave pet food outside; wash any wound from an animal with soap and water and seek immediate medical attention; keep pet vaccinations up to date; and monitor your pet when they are outside.

If your pet is involved in an altercation with a wild animal, the agency says not to get involved and not to touch the pet without gloves since rabies is spread through saliva.

They urge people with pets that had an altercation with a wild animal to cover them with a towel and to contact a veterinarian because the pet may need a booster shot.