Niagara County Department of Health reports fox rabies in Niagara Falls

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 02:40 pm

The Niagara County Department of Health confirmed a rabid fox on College Avenue in Niagara Falls on Monday.

A homeowner noticed contact between their two dogs and the injured fox. The owner will give two vaccinated dogs a rabies booster shot.

The health department’s nursing unit will determine whether the owner may have been accidentally exposed to the rabies virus, which requires post-exposure treatment for rabies.

The NCDOH states: “Bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes are all common wildlife carriers of the rabies virus. Rabies animals have the potential to transmit (share) the virus through direct contact before symptoms appear. Rabies animals can only be identified by submitting laboratory samples. confirm.

“Animal rabies remains a serious public health problem in Niagara County. Rabies is a viral disease that almost always kills animals that are not adequately protected by rabies vaccines.”

NCDOH reminds county residents of the following precautions to prevent exposure to rabies in wild and domestic animals:

• Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or cats.

• Make sure dogs and cats are up-to-date with rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets act as a buffer zone between rabid wild animals and humans. Protect pets with rabies vaccine to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies.

Dogs and cats who are vaccinated against rabies for the first time are protected for one year. The second and subsequent vaccinations of the dog or cat will protect against rabies for up to three years. Pets too small to be vaccinated should be kept indoors.

By law, all cats, dogs and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies from the age of four months. The NCDOH will launch a free rabies clinic in 2022 and will announce those dates on its website once the schedule is finalized.

• Keep household pets indoors at night. Do not leave them unattended or let them roam freely.

• Do not attract wild animals into your home or yard. Keep the property free of stored bird seeds or other foods that may attract wildlife. Feed pets indoors. Close or put away the trash can. Board any openings in attics, basements, porches, and garages. Cover the chimney with the screen.

• Encourage children to tell an adult immediately if they are bitten by any animal. Tell children not to touch any animals they don’t know.

• If wildlife is on your property, let it go. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors outside. A nasty wildlife control officer can be contacted who will charge a fee to remove the animal; or if in danger, call your local law enforcement agency.

• If your pet gets into a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate it from other animals and people for several hours. Call the veterinarian. Vaccinated pets need a booster dose of rabies vaccine within five days of exposure. Unvaccinated animals exposed to known or suspected rabid animals must be restrained for six months or humanely euthanized.

• Rabies in bats continues to receive special attention. Niagara County residents must always be aware of the risk of rabies from contact with bats. Rabies is almost always fatal once the disease occurs. However, prompt and complete post-exposure treatment is effective in preventing disease from developing.

If someone finds a bat in their home, it is important not to harm, release or discard it. Contact the NCDOH Environmental Health Department immediately at 716-439-7444 to discuss specific situations or incidents.For more information on bat rabies, including instructions for properly capturing and containing bats for testing, visit

• Report all animal bites or contact with wildlife to the NCDOH Environment Department at 716-439-7444.For more information on rabies, call 716-439-7444 or