From the Suffolk County Department of Health Services:
"Suffolk Health Officials Warn Residents to Take
Precautionary Measures Following Report of Rabid Bats in Town of Islip"
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services was notified
today by the New York State Department of Health that three bats
collected on June 12 and June 15 in the Town of Islip have tested
positive for the rabies virus. The bats were collected in Sayville,
Islip Terrace and Islip.
"We estimate that in any given year, three to six percent of the local
bat population typically test positive for rabies; given that we have
had three test positive in close proximity within days is reason for
enhanced caution," said Dr. James Tomarken, Commissioner of Health
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central
nervous system. It is most often seen among wild animals such as
raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with
rabies. Pets and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated to
protect them against infection.
New York State and Suffolk County laws require that all dogs, cats and
ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. Vaccinating pets not only provides
protection for the animals but also acts as a barrier to keep the
rabies virus from spreading between wild animals and people.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services recommends the
following precautions to protect pets and your family from possible
exposure to rabies:
* Do not feed, touch or approach wild animals, or stray dogs or cats.
* Be sure your pet dogs, cats and ferrets as well as horses and
other livestock animals are up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors and allowed
outside only under direct observation.
* Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
* Do not attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your
property free of stored bird seed or foods that may attract wild
animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cover or put away garbage cans.
Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your
chimney with screens.
* Do not transport or relocate any wild animals.
* Teach children not to touch any animal they do not know and to
tell an adult immediately if they are bitten by any animal.
To keep bats from getting into buildings:
* Do not leave unscreened doors open to the outside.
* Do not leave unscreened windows open to the outside.
* Make sure windows have screens, chimneys are capped, and electrical and plumbing openings are plugged.
* Seal up all openings larger than 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch square
into the attic, basement, walls, or occupied areas of the house.
* Use materials such as expanding spray-on foam, caulk, wire
mesh, wood that fits tightly, steel wool (around pipes that enter
buildings), or polypropylene bird netting, to seal or cover gaps and
If a bat is found in your home, avoid contact with it, attempt to
contain the animal and contact the Department of Health Services
immediately. If possible, try to contain the animal so that it can be
All animal bites or contact with wild animals should be reported by calling 631-853-0333 weekdays, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
After hours, animal bites or contact with wild animals should be reported by calling 631-852-4820.
For more information on rabies, visit the New York State Department of Health website at http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/rabies/rabies.htm
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/