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Cayuga County Health Department has trouble contacting person after rabies exposure

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Cayuga County Health Department is asking the public to be alert if they encounter an animal that might have rabies.

After 2+ years of health officials at varying levels providing outreach and attempting to contact members of the public over COVID-19 exposures- more people are likely to ignore a call.

In Cayuga County, health officials said they had trouble connecting with residents after a potential rabies exposure.


The Citizen reported the communication gap, which came to light at a recent Cayuga County Board of Health meeting.

A person was bitten by a raccoon that health officials said was ‘very clearly rabid’. When the health department reached out to that person to establish post-rabies exposure treatments, it was a challenge.

Officials said they eventually made contact, and the person received treatment. But the challenge connecting with residents isn’t an uncommon thing.

If symptoms develop in humans rabies is nearly 100% fatal.

Small animals like fox and raccoons are most common to find with rabies in Upstate New York. Bats also fit into this category.

The bottom line: If you encounter a wild animal that bites you – contact your doctor and local health officials to follow-up appropriately.