In response to this finding, the Nassau County Department of Health is asking Nassau County residents to call the Department of Health at 516-227-9663 if they see any dead raccoons for possible collection and rabies testing or any sick or abnormally acting animals. The Suffolk County Department of Health is asking residents of all Suffolk County towns to report raccoons that come into contact with humans or pets directly to them. Residents of the Towns of Huntington and Babylon are asked to report abnormally acting raccoons and dead raccoons. In Suffolk County towns other than Huntington and Babylon, dead raccoons should be discarded in the garbage in a safe manner and with no direct physical contact with people or pets. Suffolk County residents are asked to report sightings to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services by calling 631-852-5900, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm. After hours, call 631-852-4820.
Rabies is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal. However, the virus may also be transmitted when the saliva of a rabid animal comes into contact with cut, open, or scratched skin lesions. To protect yourself from exposure to possible rabies:
- Keep domestic animals (dogs, cats, ferrets) on a leash and keep livestock confined in the evenings
- Verify that your pets have current rabies vaccination, including dogs, cats, ferrets, livestock, and horses.
- Do not touch or have contact with any animal other than your own.
- Do not touch dying or dead animals. If you must move them, use a shovel, wear heavy rubber gloves, and double bag the carcass.
- Advise your family against approaching any unknown animal - wild or domestic - especially those acting in an unusual way.
- Instruct your children to tell you immediately if they were bitten or scratched by any animal.
- Notify the Health Department if a bat is found in a room where adults or children were sleeping, or if an adult enters a room and finds a bat with a child.
- Do not feed unknown animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home.
- Keep garbage cans tightly covered and avoid storing any food outside.
- To prevent the possible spread of the rabies virus, no one, including trappers and nuisance wildlife rehabilitators, should transport and relocate any wild animals at this time.
Individuals bitten or scratched by any animal should immediately contact their physician or seek medical help at a hospital emergency room and then call the Department of Health for the county that the injury occurred in.
For additional information, please visit the Nassau County Department of Health website at: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/2048/Rabies, the Suffolk County Department of Health website at: http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov, the New York State Department of Health website at: http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/rabies/rabies.htm, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/.
If you are unsure of your pet's rabies vaccination status, please log in to your pet portal or contact Island Rescue at 631-968-8700 for the Bay Shore location and 631-569-2601 for the Patchogue location.