Five cases of rabies have already been confirmed in the county this year, according to the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department.
Four raccoons and one skunk have tested positive, according to Susan Hathaway, public health director.
Hathaway is warning pet owners to keep animals’ vaccinations up to date and avoid contact with strays or wildlife.
“Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It kills almost any mammal or human that contracts it,” Hathaway said.
Animals sick with rabies can transmit the disease through their saliva, so all animal bites should be taken seriously. It you are bitten, was the wound with soap and water, then call your physician or local health department.
Bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes have an especially high risk of transmitting rabies. No wildlife should be taken in as a pet.
Never trap or transport wild animals to a new location. Moving wild animals is illegal and can spread diseases.
Pets should not roam freely and homeowners should not keep open garbage or pet food outdoors that can attract wildlife.
Never approach a stray or sick-acting animal.
Covering potential entrances such as uncapped chimneys, loose shingles, attic openings and roofs or eaves can discourage wild animals from entering your home.
The department will hold a rabies clinic April 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Human Services Center in Canton.
Questions about rabies or possible exposures may be addressed to the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department at 386-2325.
The Department also maintains a list of nuisance wildlife control officers for hire for citizens experiencing wildlife nuisance issues.