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The Otsego County Health Department announced a bat found in Cooperstown last week tested positive for rabies. Fortunately, no one came into contact with the bat.

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I have had to go through the rabies series of vaccines and I can easily say that I don't ever want to go through that again! It's a series of four shots given to the person exposed The first dose of the four-dose course is given as soon as possible after exposure to an animal with rabies. After that first shot, additional doses are given on days 3, 7, and 14 after the first vaccination. It's not just a pain in the arm, it's a pain convenience-wise but it sure beats the alternative. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal. To date, less than 20 cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been documented". Needless to say, if you are ever remotely exposed to an animal with rabies, you should go through the vaccination series to be on the safe side.

In terms of preventing rabies, Otsego County Health Officials say to stay away from stray or wild animals and remember that according to state law; all dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated for rabies. Unvaccinated pets that come into contact with rabid wildlife must be euthanized or strictly quarantined at the owner's expense for six months so please keep pets up to date on rabies vaccines.

Otsego County Department of Health, in partnership with the Susquehanna SPCA holds a free, monthly rabies vaccine clinic. The next clinic in Otsego County is coming up on October 4 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the SQSPCA on Rt. 28, Cooperstown. It's on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, click here or call the SPCA at (607) 547-811, ext. 111.

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