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County Health Department Raises Rabies Awareness

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – The Westchester County Department of Health has issued warnings recently after a string of rabies incidents have been reported around the county.

In the New York, Westchester leads the state in positive rabies reports this year as of June 1, with 17 positive cases, according to the New York State Department of Rabies Laboratory. In the month of May, the county had reported four incidents and just this past week there were two rabid animals captured.

Caren Halbfinger, director of public health and communication for the Westchester County Health Department, says that this activity is actually expected.

"There are always a lot of cases of rabies during this time of the year, June was actually determined to be rabies awareness in the State of New York," Halbfinger said. "We're trying to bring as much awareness to the public as we possibly can,"

The county department of health says it is doing everything possible to ensure the health of the public. On the Westchester County website, information on the disease and preventative measures can be accessed. There are even videos to demonstrate how to deal with rabid animals that may enter your home, such as bats.

The most recent incident occurred in Mount Pleasant, in which case a domestic cat was found to have rabies after a resident picked up it on the side of the road and took it to their home before having the animal tested. The Westchester County Department of Health warns against this type of activity. Rabies, although a fatal disease, can be treated in a person but can also become a financial burden.

"If they can avoid it, a person should never come in contact with a wild animal like that," Halbfinger said. "Because if they do then they need to be treated immediately and with the shots and everything it can become pretty expensive for health departments."

According to statistics by the State Department of Rabies Laboratory, the most common rabid animals in Westchester County are skunks and raccoons and that 12 percent of all animals tested have been positive for the disease.

For more information, visit or call the Department of Health at (914) 813-5000 to report any possible rabies incidents.

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