POND EDDY - Sullivan County is urging the public to be cautious around wild animals and to make sure their pets are up to date on rabies vaccinations after a raccoon killed in the Pond Eddy area tested positive for the disease.

Rabies is a deadly virus that infects the central nervous system of mammals and is often transmitted by a bite. However, it’s possible to become infected if saliva or nerve tissue from a rabid animal gets into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound.

Pets can also be exposed to rabies by interacting with the carcass of an animal that had the virus.

Sullivan County Public Health Services encourages the public not to separate fighting animals and to wear gloves when handling a pet after a fight. Pet owners should keep their animals inside at night and not leave them unattended or let them roam free.

The public should also not attract wild animals to their homes, according to the department.

Anyone bit by an animal should seek treatment and report contact with wild animals to Public Health Services by calling 845-292-5910.

The department's' next free rabies clinic for dogs, cats and ferrets is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on June 5 at Morningside Park in Hurleyville.

Vaccines for dogs, cats and ferrets that are more than 3 months old are effective for one year and revaccinations are effective for up to three years, according to Public Health Services.