Thursday, July 23, 2015
Atlantic County is reporting its fourth case of rabies this year and the first found in a raccoon that was collected from an Egg Harbor City property on July 20. Each of the previous cases this year involved bats.
The raccoon was found in an opened garage of a Duerer Street property by the homeowner and his dog. An animal control officer was called to remove the raccoon. It was then sent to the state lab for testing where it was confirmed positive for rabies on July 22.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health has found that there were no human exposures and the pet dog was current with its rabies vaccination. As a precaution, the dog will be given a booster rabies vaccination and placed under a 45-day informal confinement.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Pet owners are advised to protect their pets with a rabies vaccination.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter provides a free rabies vaccination clinic each month for dogs and cats at 240 Old Turnpike Road in Pleasantville. 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 where it could come in contact with rabid wildlife.
Rabies is most common in raccoons and bats, but has also been found in skunks, foxes, cats, groundhogs and other wildlife in New Jersey. According to the American Humane Society, rabies is most prevalent along the East Coast from Florida to Maine.
Public health officials also advise residents to teach your children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals. Never feed or touch wild animals or try to keep them 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.
For more information about rabies control and precautions to protect your family and your pets, please visit the county Web site at www.aclink.org/publichealth or call 609-645-5971.