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Westchester County Health Commissioner Offers Tips To Avoid Rabies

Westchester County health department offers tips to stay away from rabid animals.
Westchester County health department offers tips to stay away from rabid animals. Photo Credit:

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. --  Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, is providing tips for residents to know how to protect themselves, their families and their pets from rabies.

“Keep your distance from wild and stray animals, and teach your children to avoid them, too,” Amler said.

How to tell if an animal is rabid:

• Unusual behavior may be the first sign of rabies in an animal.

• A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame.

• Some rabid animals lose their fear of people and become excited and irritable, or appear passive and lethargic.

• Staggering and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted.

What should you do if bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal:

• Wash the bite or scratch with warm, soapy water.

• Call your doctor or hospital to find out if additional treatment is needed.

• Report the incident to the health department, 24 hours a day, at (914) 813-5000. If calling after business hours, follow the recorded instructions for reporting public health emergencies.

If pets fight with other animals:

• Wear gloves when handling pet during and after an encounter with another animal.

• Call veterinarian and the animal control officer in your community to report the incident.

• If your pet is exposed to a suspect rabid animal, try to keep the animal in sight until the police or a wildlife trapper arrive.

• If your pet bites or scratches someone, confine your animal and call the Westchester County Health Department immediately at 914-813-5000.

For more information about rabies and its prevention can be found on the Health Department’s website at

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