Public Health issues discussed in Essex County

— Members of the Essex County Public Health Department want people to protect themselves and their animals against the spread of a pair of diseases that have been found here.

Kathy Daggett reported to members of the Essex County Human Services Committee Aug. 13 that she is working to promote awareness of Lyme disease and the recent outbreak of rabies in the region.

Rabies case confirmed

A rabid raccoon has been identified in the Town of Wilmington. Though other animals with confirmed rabies have been in other areas of Essex County, this is the first confirmed case in Wilmington.

Essex County Public Health Department offers these essentials for preventing rabies:

•Avoid contact with stray or unknown cats, dogs and wild animals;

•Make sure pets (dogs, cats, ferrets, etc.) and livestock (alpaca, goats, horses, cows, etc.) are up to date with their rabies vaccinations.

If a human, un-vaccinated pet or livestock comes in contact with a suspected rabid animal notify Essex County Public Health Department at 873-3500. Vaccinated animals that come in contact with wild animals must be given a booster rabies vaccination within 5 days of the contact. Owners of domestic farm animals should contact their vets regarding vaccination. Essex County Public Health should also be notified if there is contact with a bat, a bat is found in a room with a young child, or where someone is sleeping.

Essex County Public Health Department will submit wild animals and bats for rabies testing if they have had contact with humans or pets or have displayed unusual behavior. Call the Essex County Public Health Department at 873-3500 to report a contact or if you have any questions.

“Lyme disease is here,” Daggett said. “The numbers rose about five years ago, and it has stayed at that level, and we want to get the message out more to people what they can do to protect themselves.”

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