Another rabid skunk discovered in Clinton County

— Another skunk, shot in Peru on Nov. 6, tested positive for rabies according to local public health officials.

“The rabid skunk was shot by a resident on the Jabez Allen Road. The latest rabid animal was found about 6 miles north of the Village of Keeseville where several rabid animals were recently confirmed,” Principal Sanitarian at the Clinton County Health Department Rita Mitchell said.

This recent positive brings the total confirmed rabid animals in Clinton County to six for the year. Rabid animals found this year have included: one bat, one raccoon and four other skunks.

Mitchell said it is unclear if there is an increase rate of rabies in the area or if it is because more animals are being tested by the USDA Wildlife Services through their bait and enhanced surveillance. Through this program they are testing more such as road kill.

“Normally these animals wouldn’t be tested unless they had come in contact with a domestic animal or human,” Mitchell said. “Now there is an extra amount of testing and we are looking harder for rabid animals.”

Mark Corara, Supervisory Wildlife Biologist with the USDA Wildlife Services, that

Corara said the amount of vaccine drops throughout the area hasn’t changed. But since the organization started dropping a new form of the vaccine in August, more data collection has been taking place.

Many factors could contribute to the increased amount of rabies-infected animals in the area, including; weather, populations density, and amount of contact infected animals have with other animals.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the nervous system and is 100 percent fatal once symptoms develop. All mammals, including humans, are susceptible to rabies. Rabies is transmitted from the saliva of an infected animal, usually by a bite.

Signs of rabies in an animal include aggressive behavior, paralysis, lethargy or a wild animal acting unafraid of people.

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