1 white-tailed deer in Orleans detected with rabies

Staff Reports Posted 22 October 2020 at 10:48 am

A white-tailed deer in Orleans County had rabies, one of four to test positive in upstate recently, according to researchers at the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab.

A DEC environmental conservation officer collected a white-tailed deer carcass after it was found dead in a pond by the homeowner in Orleans County on Oct. 13. The DEC officer noted that other deer had been seen swimming in the pond.

Quick collection and proper handling of the animal by ECOs and NYS Wildlife Health Program staff at Cornell using appropriate PPE was strictly followed and essential when handling wildlife as it may be infected with rabies or other infectious diseases. The brain sample was removed and sent to NYS Wadsworth lab for testing and was reported positive for rabies, according to the Cornell lab.

A deer also tested positive for rabies in Cortland Country after it was euthanized on October 1 by a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer who found the deer “circling in a yard.” The deer also “appeared thin” and was approachable by humans.

Appearing tame or being approachable, anorexia, and incoordination or restlessness are some of the clinical signs of rabies.

Other deer have testing positive for rabies Ontario County and Cayuga County.

Hunting season is about to begin across New York. It’s important for hunters to remember that all mammals, including white-tailed deer, are susceptible to rabies, Cornell officials said.

“Remember to include disposable gloves in your hunting gear as you head into the field,” Cornell said in a news release. “Wear gloves when field dressing or butchering your harvest and be sure to discard the gloves in the trash. Wash your hands with soap and water when you are finished. Rabies virus can be transmitted through the animal’s saliva and blood into an open wound. Do not consume animals that appear abnormal. To report neurologic deer, please contact your DEC Regional Wildlife Office.”

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