The raccoons have emerged from hibernation and already one spotted wandering erratically on Beaver Street was confirmed as rabid.
Gloversville Police spokesman Capt. James Lorenzoni said Animal Control Officer Kelly Warner was dispatched to Beaver Street Monday and was unable to capture the animal when it entered an abandoned house. She returned Tuesday and found the animal dead. She submitted it for testing, and on Wednesday the state laboratory reported finding rabies.
Lorenzoni said it was the first case of rabies in the city this year.
State Health Department spokesman Jeffrey W. Hammond referred a reporter to the department’s Web site, where data by year and county and by animal species is available to the public.
While the number of cases has dropped significantly since the state’s raccoon rabies epidemic reached its peak in 1993 (2,747 confirmed cases), Hammond said the department recommends residents avoid contact with wild animals, but report any to local health authorities.
According to Health Department statistics, there were three confirmed rabies cases in raccoons in January in Albany County, where one case was also confirmed in a horse. The only other confirmations in the region for January were one raccoon in each of Rensselaer, Greene and Columbia counties. One cat was tested in Fulton County, but it was cleared.
Data for 2009 was not available on the department Web site, but in 2008 the state lab found rabies in 498 animals including in 263 raccoons spread among 49 counties, 112 bats originating in 44 counties, 63 skunks, 24 cats, 20 fox, six cows, four woodchucks, two deer, a horse, a dog, a rabbit and a coyote.
Lorenzoni said the department is warning residents to ensure that all pets are properly vaccinated. Anyone observing wild animals acting strangely has been advised to report it.
Categories: Schenectady County