BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie County health officials are warning residents, if you see a cute little furry critter coming out of the wild, don’t touch it—the animal could be rabid., and the consequences could be tragic for you and the animal.
Just last month the county health department reported 75 residents were sent to Erie County Medical Center to get vaccinated for exposure to rabies–the most referrals for the month of June in five years.
The animals most susceptible to carrying rabies are skunks, raccoons, and bats, all nocturnal animals, meaning they only come out at night. So if you see one of those critters wandering around in the daytime.. they are probably ill.
This is the time of year that these animals are nursing their litters, and Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein reminded Erie County residents, rabies is a 100% fatal disease–there is no treatment for it.
“If you see wildlife near you, there is something wrong with that. If you see, say, abandoned pups–a fox, a baby skunk, or raccoon–that is unusual. That means their mother abandoned them because she was ill, and if she was ill, it was probably from rabies, and if the mother had rabies then the pups have rabies.”
Burstein warns if you have any contact with a wild animal, contact the Health Department to get your rabies shots, and if you can’t afford them, the county has a program to cover the cost. It is no exaggeration: your life could depend on it.