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Report an Animal Bite

⚠ If you or your pet have been bitten, scratched or have had contact with the saliva of any animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water, call this Department for assistance in planning treatment.  It is critical that before seeking rabies treatment – post exposure prophylaxis shots – the bite or exposure is reported to this Department.

Report all animal bites /exposures to Essex County Health Department

Mon-Fri 8 AM – 4 PM 518-873-3500

After Business Hours, Weekends, Holidays call 518-873-3500, you will be connected to our on call staff.

Rabies Clinics

Rabies Center

Was I Exposed to Rabies?

I/someone had contact with an animal and I/they were...
  • Bitten by the animal
  • Scratched by the animal
  • Woke up to a bat in my room/child's room
  • The animal's saliva came in contact with me
  • The animal bit my pet

Exposures can also happen if infectious material from a rabid animal (saliva, brain tissue, spinal fluid) has contact with an open wound or mucous membrane.  Direct contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal where a bite, open wound or mucous membrane contact cannot be ruled out – such as a bat in a room with a sleeping person, unattended child, intoxicated or otherwise mentally compromised person – are considered exposures. If there is any chance of exposure to a bat contact this health department immediately to discuss the situation.

Every situation is different, if you are not sure of an exposure, call us.

Protect Your Pets & Livestock

If Your Pet is bitten or has another exposure

  • Wash the wound with soap and water
  • Contact your veterinarian – the vet will decide if your pet needs to be vaccinated again
  • Report all animal bites /exposures to Essex County Health Department

The rabies virus can take weeks to months to incubate in an animal before the animal acts unusually or rabid. Protect yourself, your pets and livestock :

  • Keep pet dogs, cats & ferrets up-to-date on their rabies vaccines
  • Vaccinate livestock as recommended by your veterinarian
  • Stay away from wild and stray animals
  • Avoid attracting stray and wild animals

* Store bird seed, pet food & garbage indoors.

* Do not feed pets outdoors.

* Tightly lock outdoor compost & garbage.

About Bats

About Bats

  • Not all bats have rabies. In fact most bats don’t have rabies.
  • Rabies is found in all bat species in NY.
  • Rabies can be transmitted from bats to other mammals, but rabid bats rarely attack people.
  • Rabid bats may show unusual behavior like fluttering on the ground, flying during the day, or biting people or animals.
  • Avoid direct contact with all bats – bats have small teeth that may leave marks not easily seen.
  • If there is a chance a bat had direct contact with a person or pet OR if you awaken to or find a bat in a room where someone was sleeping, try to catch it so it can be given to Essex County Health Department & tested.

Call 873-3500 for advice on what to do and watch this short video on the best way to capture a bat

Handling Dead Animals

Handling Dead Animals

  1. Wear gloves and use a shovel to pick up the animal
  2. Double bag, knot and throw away the animal OR bury the animal 3’ deep
  3. Wash gloves and shovel with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water for about 20 minutes
  4. Thoroughly wash hands with soap & water
Additional Resources

New York State Department of Health Rabies Site

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rabies Site

Wildlife Rehabilitators

Wildlife Rehabilitators are licensed through NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.  Find a wildlife Rehabilitator Near Your (search by county).

What to do if you or your pet are bitten by a dog/wild animal/livestock
  • Wash the wound with soap and water.
  • Ask for important information such as name and phone number of the owner.
  • Seek immediate medical attention or contact your veterinarian even if your pet is current with rabies vaccine it will need to be vaccinated again.
  • Report all animal bites /exposures to Essex County Health Department 518-873-3500
What to do if your dog bites someone
  • Restrain the dog immediately. Separate it from the incident.
  • Check on the victim’s condition. Wash wounds with soap and water. Professional medical advice should be sought to evaluate bite wounds and the risk of rabies or other infections. Call 911 if a response by paramedics is required.
  • Provide important information including your name, phone number.
  • Call our department to report the bite – 518-873-3500.
What is the Health Department's role in animal bite reports?

As a local health department we are responsible for rabies surveillance, prevention and control. Our activities include:
✅ Following NYS Public Health Law that regulates rabies investigations for people and animals;
✅ Issuing notices of confinement or quarantine as necessary to prevent potential disease spread;
✅ Ensuring people receive treatment for rabies exposures (called rabies post exposure prophylaxis (PEP);
✅ Providing rabies education & outreach;
✅ Providing free vaccination clinics throughout the county; and
✅ Completing all rabies reporting requirements. 

 
NYSDOH Required Activities as a Local Health Department

Rabies:

As a local health department we are responsible for rabies surveillance, prevention and control.  Our activities include:

✅ Following NYS Public Health Law that regulates rabies investigations for people and animals;

✅ Issuing notices of confinement or quarantine as necessary to prevent potential disease spread;

✅ Ensuring people receive treatment for rabies exposures (called rabies post exposure prophylaxis (PEP);

✅ Providing rabies education & outreach;

✅ Providing free vaccination clinics throughout the county; and

✅ Completing all rabies reporting requirements.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system and if untreated, leads to death.

The virus is found in saliva, mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth) & nervous tissue (brain and spinal cord) fluid of infected animals.

OUR REQUIRED ACTIVITIES

NYS DOH requires reporting of certain communicable diseases.  The local health department is responsible for a communicable disease program designed to minimize the incidence and impact of communicable diseases.

Mandated activities include all disease-specific protocols established by NYSDOH:

✅ Conducting surveillance of communicable diseases;

✅ Investigating suspected or confirmed communicable diseases as reported by mandated reporters (providers, labs, schools, and others);

✅ Reporting public health communicable disease threats to NYSDOH;

✅ Verifying diagnoses and identifying sources of infections;

✅ Minimizing the spread of disease through early identification and prophylaxis of exposed persons;

✅ Maintaining the capacity to perform multiple simultaneous investigations; and

✅ Communicating [at least annually] with health care providers, clinics and laboratories about local data, diagnostic and treatment modalities and reporting requirements.