The Belmont Health Department has issued a warning to residents of an outbreak of rabies after a second non-domesticated animal tested positive for the illness in the past month.
A fox captured by Belmont Animal Control Officer John Maguranis on Monday, July 13 and a skunk on June 21 were infected by the very serious viral disease found in animals that can spread from an infected animal to a person.
Rabies is disperse through the saliva of an animal and can be transmitted from a bite, or when the animal’s saliva comes in contact with a person’s mouth, eyes or an open sore, according to the Health Department.
The department and Belmont Police Department are urging residents to protect their families and pets by taking the following steps:
- Make sure your dogs and cats (including inside only cats), are up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
- Keep your children, loved ones, and pets from approaching, touching, or feeding wild or stray animals.
- Garbage should be contained in garbage cans that are closed and secured to avoid attracting wildlife.
- Do not feed or water your pets outdoors. Empty bowls will attract wild and stray animals.
- Do not let your cats and dogs roam freely.
- Keep your chimney capped and repair holes in attics, cellars, garages and porches to help keep wild animals like bats and raccoons out of your home.
- Report any animal that behaves oddly, looks sick, injured or orphaned to the Animal Control Officer or the Health Department at: Belmont Animal Control 617-993-2724. Belmont Health Department 617-993-2720.
- If the Animal Control Officer or Heath Department cannot be reached, notify the Belmont Police at 617-484-1212.
If a bite or other significant exposure to rabies does occur, quick action can prevent progression to rabies disease.
• If a person has been bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal or an animal suspected of having rabies, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and then seek medical attention. If you find a bite or wound on your dog or cat that cannot be explained, take your animal to a veterinarian.