"http://www.stamfordplus.com/stm/information/nws1/publish/News_1/index.shtml - News</head> : Health Published: Aug 17, 2012 - 3:05:41 PM

Rabies confirmed in skunks in Stamford

By City of Stamford Department of Health and Social Services

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Stamford, CT - The City of Stamford Department of Health and Social Services is reporting that two skunks tested positive for rabies in Stamford. The skunks were sent to the state Department of Public Health Laboratory for testing. It was reported on July 25 and August 15, 2012 that the skunks tested positive for rabies. To date,these are the only two animals reported with rabies within the City of Stamford in 2012. The Stamford Director of Health and Social Services, Anne Fountain, advises Stamford residents and visitors to take precautions and reminds people that during this season we are spending more time outdoors, we increase our risk of exposure to rabid animals. Pet vaccinations and awareness are the best defense.

The City of Stamford Department of Health and Social Services continues to monitor rabies cases within the City of Stamford. Residents should report wild animals showing signs of unusual behavior to their local Animal Control Officer. Additionally, it is recommended that residents should avoid contact with wild animals and immediately report any bites from wild or domestic animals to a health care provider as soon as possible and follow your provider’s advice. Finally, be sure that all family pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations and licenses.

Rabies is a viral disease which attacks the nervous system and can infect all warm-blooded mammals, including humans. This does not include birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians. The rabies virus is found in the saliva of a rabid animal and is transmitted by a bite, or possibly by contamination of an open cut. Bats, raccoons, skunks, groundhogs, woodchucks, foxes, cats, and dogs represent the majority of animals diagnosed with rabies in the United States.

The City of Stamford Department of Health and Social Services is advising residents to follow these guidelines in order to prevent rabies from being transmitted to themselves or their pets.

Rabies Prevention Guidelines

1. Immediately report a bite from a wild or domestic animal to Stamford Animal Control (203-977-4437). Wash animal bite wounds thoroughly with soap and water as soon as soon as possible after the bite. Contamination of open cuts or scratches with saliva of potentially rabid animals should also be washed off immediately. Consult a physician as soon as possible.

2. Recognize signs of unusual animal behavior, which may include:
• Moving slowly/difficulty moving
• Acting as if it is tame
• Appears sick
• Has problems swallowing
• Has an increase of saliva/drooling
• Acts aggressive
• Has paralysis
• Bites at everything if excited
• Unusual vocalization

3. Be sure that all family pets are up to date on their rabies vaccination. If unsure please call your veterinarian. Contact Animal Control for information on low cost vaccination programs.

4. Animal proof your home and yard. Make sure all garbage containers have tight fitting lids, do not leave pet food or water outside, do not allow rainwater to collect in outdoor containers or equipment and keep yard free of garbage and debris.

5. Do not approach, feed or handle wild animals.

6. Avoid contact with stray animals or pets other than your own.

7. Try to prevent your pets from coming into contact with wild animals.

8. Screen off vents to attics and other areas that could provide shelter for bats.

9. To remove wild animals from property call a wild life removal company.

For any additional information, call the Stamford Department of Health Laboratory (203-977-5881), or Animal Control (203-977-4437).

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