Bats, foxes, raccoon, and skunks are the primary reservoirs of rabies virus, however rabies has been confirmed in domestic animals, such as cats and dogs. Rabies is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It is transmitted from infected mammals to man and is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. Fortunately, only a few human cases are reported each year in the United States.
People can get rabies if they are exposed to the saliva or nervous tissue of a rabid animal through a bite or scratch. Although rare, exposure can also occur if infected saliva or nervous tissue gets into a fresh wound (one that has bled within 24 hours) or mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth).
Rabid animals often show changes in behavior, becoming docile, vicious, or unafraid of human and normally nocturnal animals may be out in the daytime. If sighted, try to distance yourself from wild animal that appear sick, dying, or exhibiting unusual behavior and call the Department of Public Safety at 315.443.2224.
During the late summer and early fall months there is a seasonal increase in bat activity in and around Central New York. Because a small percentage of bats may carry the rabies virus, it is important to avoid any physical contact with a bat.
If you suspect any contact with a bat while on University premises, or if there is a bat in your campus work area or room, please call the Department of Public Safety at 315.443.2224 and also report it to area supervisory personnel. Trained Campus Facilities staff will take appropriate action to capture or remove/relocate the bat. Individuals who have had any contact with a bat or potential unknowing contact (e.g., bat found in the room with a sleeping person or child, etc.) should immediately contact DPS at 315.443.2224 and Health Services at 315.443.9005 for an exposure assessment.