Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Atlantic County’s eighth case of rabies this year has been confirmed in a dead bat collected from a property on Cedar Lake Road in Buena Borough.
The homeowner discovered his dog playing with a dead bat in the yard. The local animal control officer was called to remove the bat. It was then sent to the state lab for testing and confirmed positive for rabies on September 3, 2014.
An investigation by the Division of Public Health has determined that there were no human exposures. The homeowner’s dog was current with its rabies vaccination but as a precaution, it received a booster vaccination.
This is the second confirmed case of rabies in wildlife in the past week. A skunk collected from Odessa Avenue in Galloway previously tested positive. Rabies has been confirmed in four raccoons, two skunk, one fox and one bat to date this year.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Residents who find a wild or stray animal on their property should leave it alone until an animal control officer, police officer or other responder arrives on the scene to capture and/or remove it.
“Thankfully, this dog was current with its rabies vaccination,” stated Patricia Diamond, Atlantic County Public Health Officer. “It is extremely important to vaccinate your pets to protect them as well as to provide a barrier to human exposure.”
Public health officials recommend the following steps to protect your family and pets from rabies:
* Make sure your dog or cat's rabies vaccination is current. The Atlantic County Animal Shelter holds a free clinic each month at 240 Old Turnpike Road, Pleasantville. The next clinic will be held on Sunday, September 21 from 9 AM to 11 AM. Dogs must be brought on leashes and cats in carriers. For more information, call (609) 485-2345 or visit www.aclink.org/animalshelter.
* Dogs and cats who receive an initial rabies vaccination are not considered immunized until 28 days after the vaccine has been administered, therefore it is strongly recommended that any animal newly vaccinated or those too young to receive the vaccine (less than three months) not be left outdoors unattended. Situations have arisen where pet owners have left unvaccinated or newly vaccinated pets outdoors where they have sustained exposures to known or suspect rabid animals, resulting in euthanasia or six months strict confinement. Keep your pet on a leash. Do not allow your pet to roam; it can come in contact with rabid wildlife.
* Teach your children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals.
* Never feed or touch wild animals, especially bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, or groundhogs. Do not try to keep these animals as pets.
* If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention.
* Report all animal bites to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at 609-645-5971.