Raccoons in Potsdam and Gouverneur test positive for rabies; health officials warn public again
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 5:13 pm

Two more raccoons have tested positive for rabies in St. Lawrence County, this time in the Town of Potsdam close to the Madrid town line and in the Town of Gouverneur.

The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department is reinforcing its earlier warning to the public to be aware of strange-acting animals and to report any such sightings to the department.

The county Public Health Department received a call from the Town of Potsdam about a raccoon acting strangely, staggering and falling down. An animal control officer was sent to investigate and determined testing was necessary. The department received confirmation from the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Lab that the raccoon tested positive for rabies.

Staff of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) observed a raccoon acting strangely in the Town of Gouverneur. The DEC trapped the animal for submission to testing. The Public Health Department authorized testing and results were positive for rabies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s wildlife services program just completed the Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) project last week in St. Lawrence County. Due to the case of raccoon rabies found in the Canton area in June the ORV was expanded to cover more townships than in the past few years. The towns of Potsdam, Brasher Falls, Massena, Norfolk and village of Norwood were added to the distribution area this year. This was in addition to the usual bait drop areas of Gouverneur, Canton, Ogdensburg, Heuvelton and Waddington. The goal of the program is to prevent the further spread of wildlife rabies.

Pet owners are reminded to keep animals’ vaccinations against rabies up to date and to avoid contact with stray dogs, cats, or wildlife. Health officials warn people to take measures to discourage wild animals from taking up residence in your home or on your property.

Questions about rabies or possible exposures may be reported to the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department at 386-2325.