Rabies is a zoonotic infection (a disease that spreads from animals to humans) that can cause a rare but life-threatening infection of the brain and nervous system in humans. It usually results from a bite, scratch, or lick from an infected animal.

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The Niagara County Department of Health reported this week that they are trying to locate two baby raccoons that were handed out at the 7-11 Convenience Store at 1502 Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls in late May.

On May 28th, 2020 a Niagara Falls resident handed out nine baby raccoons, of which seven have been located to date. Please contact the Niagara County Department of Health at (716) 439-7444 immediately with any information regarding the location of these raccoons so that a complete rabies investigation can be conducted.

Not only is it illegal to possess a raccoon, there is the potential rabies hazard to anyone in direct contact with the animal.

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:

1)    Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or feral cats
2)    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 pets with rabies vaccination to reduce your risk of exposure to rabies. Dogs and cats that receive their first rabies vaccine are protected for a one-year period. A dog or cat’s second and subsequent vaccination will protect from rabies 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.
3)    Bat rabies continues to be of particular concern.  Niagara County residents must remain aware of the risk for rabies from any contact with a bat.  Once illness occurs, rabies is almost always fatal. However, timely and complete post-exposure treatment is effective at preventing illness from occurring.  If you find a bat in your home, it is important not to injure, release or discard it. Immediately contact the NCDOH-Environmental Health Division at (716) 439-7444 (propose removal the 2nd/3rd contact phone #) to discuss the specifics of the situation or occurrence.  For more information on bat rabies to include instruction on proper capturing and containment of a bat for testing, go to: https://www.niagaracounty.com/health/Services/Environmental-Health/Pest-Control/Bats