A skunk in Watertown and a bat in West Carthage tested positive for rabies, according to the Jefferson County Public Health Service.
No cases of exposure to the rabid skunk have been reported.
The rabid bat was found in a West Carthage home occupied by four people who were asleep during the incident. They all have been undergoing preventative rabies treatment. Determining whether a bat has bitten someone while they were asleep can be impossible because of the animal’s small teeth, according to the service.
The service and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Program will begin distributing oral rabies bait across the north country starting the week of Aug. 15. The bait contains a vaccine that immunizes animals against rabies upon consumption.
Rabies is a fatal disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord.
Early treatment after an exposure can prevent rabies in humans and pets who are up-to-date on vaccinations.