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Rabies confirmed in St. Lawrence County

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CANTON - St. Lawrence County already has had five confirmed cases of rabies this year, four in raccoons and one in a skunk. No people were exposed.

The towns in which the rabid animals were found were Potsdam, Lisbon, DeKalb, Stockholm and Brasher.

“It’s spreading all over the county,” county Public Health Director Susan J. Hathaway said. “At this point, we’re very concerned we may have a tough year.”

Rabies tends to show up in the summer when animals are more active than in the winter, adding an additional element of concern, Ms. Hathaway said.

With the weather turning warmer and wildlife activity on the upswing, the risk of exposure to rabies increases.

“Please, please, please do not pick up baby animals that look like they’re abandoned because they’re probably not,” Ms. Hathaway said. “Wild animals do not make good pets and they can carry disease. Resist the temptation to take them out of the wild.”

Ms. Hathaway also advised pet owners to have their pets vaccinated and avoid contact with stray dogs, cats or wildlife.

The department’s next rabies clinic is 1 to 4 p.m. April 18 at the Canton Human Services Building on Route 310.

Anyone with questions about rabies or possible exposures can call Public Health at 386-2325.

Department advice includes:

n Do not feed wild animals.

n Keep children away from wild or stray animals.

n Do not trap and transport wild animals to a new location. It could spread disease.

n Discourage wild animals from private property by covering potential entrances such as uncapped chimneys, loose shingles and openings in attics, roofs and eaves.

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