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St. Lawrence County confirms year’s first rabies case

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HEUVELTON — St. Lawrence County public health officials found the county’s first rabid raccoon of the year Monday in Eel Weir State Park.

The raccoon was acting strangely and was noticed being active in daylight hours, according to Public Health Director Susan J. Hathaway.

Ms. Hathaway said there were no injuries in retrieving the animal. “There was very little human contact,” she said.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Ms. Hathaway said it kills almost any mammal or human that contracts it.

Ms. Hathaway said people should not approach wild animals that appear helpless. “These animals could carry disease,” she said.

According to Kindra E. Cousineau, St. Lawrence County’s communicable disease coordinator, there were four rabies cases in the county last year, involving two raccoons and two bats.

Tips from the county to avoid contact with the disease include urging children to stay away from stray animals and not feeding wild animals.

Ms. Hathaway also said it’s important to keep family pets up to date with their vaccinations.

Anyone with questions about the disease can call the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department at 386-2325.

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