A fifth rabid animal has been confirmed in Delaware County this year, Public Health officials said.

According to a media release, the health department was notified that a raccoon submitted for rabies testing from the town of Stamford was confirmed positive for rabies. The raccoon was reported to have attacked an unvaccinated cat and chickens. The cat was euthanized.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal, the release said. An exposure to rabies can be fatal for any mammal — human, livestock or pet. Vaccination of pets and other animals is the best preventive measure available. Pet owners should keep vaccinations up to date.

Once infected, rabies has a 100% fatality rate when left untreated. Public Health recommends the following precautions:

• Report any sick or strange-acting wildlife;

• Vaccinate pets and livestock. State law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age;

• Vaccination is also recommended for livestock with frequent human contact;

• Do not feed wildlife or stray animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home;

• Do not feed strays. According to public health law, an owner is defined as any person keeping, harboring, or having charge or control of or permitting any dog, cat or domesticated ferret to remain on or be lodged or fed within such person’s house yard or premises;

• Do not approach an unknown animal, wild or domestic, especially if it is acting in a strange or unusual manner;

• Report all animal bites and any contact with bats to the health department in your county. Human rabies can be prevented after exposure by administering a series of shots;

• Keep garbage cans tightly covered and avoid storing any food outside;

• Children should be instructed to tell an adult immediately if they were bitten or scratched by any animal;

• If an unvaccinated pet comes in contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal, the pet must be quarantined for six months;

• Vaccinated pets that come in contact with rabid or suspected rabies animal must be given a booster rabies vaccination within five days of the contact.

The remaining 2019 rabies clinics can and can be viewed at www.delawarecountypublichealth.com.

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