Our Required Activities

As a local health department we are responsible for rabies surveillance, prevention and control.  Our activities include:

  • Following NYS Public Health Law that regulates rabies investigations for people and animals;
  • Issuing notices of confinement or quarantine as necessary to prevent potential disease spread;
  • Ensuring people receive treatment for rabies exposures (called rabies post exposure prophylaxis (PEP);
  • Providing rabies education & outreach;
  • Providing free vaccination clinics throughout the county; and
  • Completing all rabies reporting requirements.

Rabies Vaccination Law & Vaccination Clinics

New York State rabies law requires all pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) to be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age.

First time vaccinations of pets are good for 1 year.  Booster vaccinations – those received after prior vaccination – are effective for 3 years. This Pet Owner Fact Sheet   is a good list of frequently asked questions and answers about pet ownership and rabies.  Owners of pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept on a leash when outdoors or in a physically confined area.

Rabies Vaccination Clinics for Pets

This Department provides free rabies vaccine clinics for all pet dogs, cats and ferrets throughout Essex County every year.  Donations of $5 per pet is appreciated.  All pets must be controlled by an adult and on a leash or in a carrier.  If your pet has been vaccinated previously, bring the rabies vaccination certificate with you so your pet can receive a three year certificate.  This Department is not able to accept a tag as proof of vaccination.

2018 Rabies Clinic Flyer Full Schedule

Pre-Register your pets for a vaccination Clinic!

You will be brought to the New York State Department of Health On-line Event Registration and Scheduling System. 

Scroll down & click the button for Essex; then click Next and follow instructions for registering your pets.

Need help? Rabies Clinic Pre-Registration Instructions are step-by-step instructions with screen shots.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system and if untreated, leads to death.

The virus is found in saliva, mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth) & nervous tissue (brain and spinal cord) fluid of infected animals.

Animals That Get Rabies

Only mammals (including people) can get rabies.

In our area, rabies most often occurs in wild animals including raccoons, fox, coyotes, skunk, porcupines, groundhogs and bats.

Livestock including cattle, horses, goat, sheep and swine, can also get rabies.

Small rodents like mice, squirrels, chipmunks, rats and rabbits rarely get rabies.

Reptiles and amphibians don’t get rabies.

Exposure to Rabies

Exposure to the rabies virus most often happens by an infected animal biting another animal.

Exposures can also happen if infectious material from a rabid animal (saliva, brain tissue, spinal fluid) has contact with an open wound or mucous membrane.  Direct contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal where a bite, open wound or mucous membrane contact cannot be ruled out – such as a bat in a room with a sleeping person, unattended child, intoxicated or otherwise mentally compromised person – are considered exposures. If there is any chance of exposure to a bat contact this health department immediately to discuss the situation.

Indirect contact – being in the same space, contact with feces or an object that had contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal – is not considered an exposure.

If you have been bitten, scratched or have had contact with the saliva of an animal that you believe is rabid, wash the wound immediately with soap and water, and call your health care provider for care of wounds and a consult.

If your doctor recommends treatment, call this Department for assistance in planning treatment.  It is critical that before seeking rabies treatment – post exposure prophylaxis shots – the bite or exposure is reported to this Department.

Mon-Fri 8 AM  –  5 PM 518-873-3500     After Business Hours, Weekends , Holidays  1-877-270-7249

 About Bats

  • Not all bats have rabies. In fact most bats don’t have rabies.
  • Rabies is found in all bat species in NY.
  • Rabies can be transmitted from bats to other mammals but rabid bats rarely attack people.
  • Rabid bats may show unusual behavior like fluttering on the ground, flying during the day, or biting people or animals.
  • Avoid direct contact with all bats – bats have small teeth that may leave marks not easily seen.
  • If there is a chance a bat had direct contact with a person or pet OR if you awaken to or find a bat in a room where someone was sleeping, try to catch it so it can be given to Essex County Health Department & tested.
  • Call 873-3500 for advice on what to do and watch this short video on the best way to capture a bat. 

If a Stray or Wild Animal is Near Your House

  1. Stay away & let it go away on its own
  2. You can contact a nuisance control officer to remove it
  3. Avoid killing an animal as this increases your risk for rabies exposure

If You or Your Pet is bitten or has another exposure

  1. Wash the wound with soap and water
  2. Contact your veterinarian – the vet will decide if your pet needs to be vaccinated again
  3. Report all animal bites /exposures to Essex County Health Department

Handling Dead Animals

  1. Wear gloves and use a shovel  to pick up the animal
  2. Double bag, knot and throw away the animal OR bury the animal 3’ deep
  3. Wash gloves and shovel with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water for about 20 minutes
  4. Thoroughly wash hands with soap & water

Protect Your Pets and Livestock

The rabies virus can take weeks to months  to incubate in an animal before the animal acts unusually or rabid.  Protect yourself, your pets and livestock by:

  1. Keeping pet dogs, cats & ferrets up-to-date on their rabies vaccines
  2. Vaccinating livestock as recommended by your veterinarian
  3. Staying away from wild and stray animals
  4. Avoid attracting stray and wild animals

*  Store bird seed, pet food & garbage indoors.

*  Do not feed pets outdoors.

*  Tightly lock outdoor compost & garbage.

Behavior of animals with rabies

Animals with rabies may show unusual behavior for their species –

  • Friendliness
  • Irritability
  • Aggressiveness
  • Staggering
  • Convulsing
  • Choking

Once an animal starts showing unusual behavior due to rabies  it will typically die within 10 days or less.

Additional Resources

New York State Department of Health Rabies Site

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rabies Site

 

Wildlife Rehabilitators

Wildlife Rehabilitators are licensed through NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.  Find a wildlife Rehabilitator Near Your (search by county).