WESTMORELAND — An injured kitten found in the town has been euthanized due to the effects of rabies.
The cat was euthanized July 24, and the Oneida County Health Department received confirmation July 26 from the state that the animal tested positive for rabies.
No positive human cases have been reported in association with the incident.
Once infected, rabies is a virus that has a 100 percent fatality rate when left untreated in mammals, including humans. The only way to test for rabies is by examination of the brain tissue of a dead animal. There is no way to test for rabies infection in a live animal.
The department recommends taking precautions to reduce the risk of getting rabies from wildlife:
• 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. Vaccinating your domestic animal not only provides protection for the animal, but vaccinated pets act as a barrier to keep the rabies virus from spreading between wild animals and people.
• 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.
• Do not approach an unknown animal, either 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.
Human rabies can be prevented after exposure by administering a series of shots.
• 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 rabid or suspected rabies 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.
Upcoming rabies clinic
The county Health Department’s next rabies clinic is Aug. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Vienna highway garage.