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Rabies awareness rises as fox in Ticonderoga tests positive

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Essex County Health Department confirmed Monday that a gray fox in Ticonderoga tested positive for the rabies virus over the weekend, after biting four people and a dog.

This is the first confirmed case of rabies in Essex County this year.

“This fox acted very aggressively and resulted in one dog and four human bite exposures across three locations of a small area of Ticonderoga,” Director of Health Planning and Promotion Jessica Darney Buehler said in a press release. “Based on the description of the fox behavior as provided by those bitten, as well as law enforcement officials on scene, we were very concerned this animal would indeed test positive for rabies.

“All people properly sought medical attention and started post-exposure treatment immediately.”

Andrea Whitmarsh, the department’s public information officer, emphasizes the importance of measures to prevent rabies: “Leave all wildlife alone; wash animal bites immediately with soap and water, and contact a health care professional following any interaction with a wild or stray animal that results in injury; maintain control of your pets and feed them indoors; and ensure all animals, pets and livestock are up to date on rabies vaccinations.”

But Franklin and Essex counties’ health departments announced rabies vaccinations for pets will be held, including in the Tri-Lakes area. Franklin County Public Health will hold its first clinic of the year Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department, 100 Broadway, Saranac Lake. To register a pet, call 518-729-7292 between 5 and 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Every animal must be controlled by the owner on a leash or in a carrier (one animal per carrier). a $5 donation would be appreciated.

By law, every dog, cat or ferret (including indoor pets) 3 months or older must be vaccinated. Ferrets must be vaccinated every year.

The Essex County Health Department will hold a rabies vaccine clinic Aug. 10 at the North Elba Show Grounds in Lake Placid. To register a pet, go to co.essex.ny.us/health and click on the paw icon. The department said it has continued to offer free rabies vaccination clinics at various locations.

“We switched to a drive-thru vaccination model, which attendees and our partner vets have found more convenient and efficient,” said Buehler.

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