Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Atlantic County's sixth case of rabies has been confirmed in a fox collected from Lees Lane in Egg Harbor Township in September 27. This is the first rabies case this year to involve a fox; previous cases have involved bats and a raccoon.
The property owner found the fox near his waste receptacle. Instead of turning to flee, the fox snarled and exhibited aggressive behavior. The property owner was able to seek safety indoors.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health has found only one human exposure, that of the property owner who is now receiving post-exposure rabies vaccination treatment.
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 free rabies vaccination clinics 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.