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Rash of rabies in Erie County

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-14 14:14:54-04

Erie County Department of Health is urging residents to stay away from wild animals because they could be infected with rabies.

Erie County Health Commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein is concerned after 75 residents were exposed to infected animals last month.

“If you see wild life coming out and interested in you during the day, there is something wrong with that animal, and we do have a lot of rabies in our wildlife here,” Burstein said.

Rabies are usually found in wild animals like fox, raccoons, bats, and skunks. Many times humans come into contact with it through their own pets.

“Rabies is very contagious. If you touch this you are considered exposed and susceptible to developing the rabies infection which we know is 100 percent fatal,” the commissioner said.

Just because you are exposed to rabies doesn't mean that you will develop it. Experts say it’s rare for people to get infected with the deadly virus.

Still, recovering from rabies exposure can be very costly and painful.

“Cost is not a barrier since this is 100 percent fatal. We want to make sure that everybody has access to the vaccines if they need it,” Commissioner Burstein said.

Erie County is taking preventative measures by offering free rabies shots for dogs, cats and ferrets.

The county will start free rabies clinics in September. The information can be found below.

  • Wednesday, Sept. 14th - 4-7PM - ECC-North Campus
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20th - 4-7PM - Springville Fire Department
  • Wednesday, Sept. 28th - 4-7PM - West Seneca Highway Garage

For more information on rabies and ways the county is preventing it log on to www.erie.gov/health.