Monday, November 2, 2015
A skunk collected from the 200 block of Zion Road in Egg Harbor Township on October 28 has been tested and confirmed positive for rabies according to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health, making it the seventh case of rabies in Atlantic County this year.
The homeowner found his dog playing with the skunk in the fenced-in back yard. He removed the dog to a pen and covered the injured skunk with a bucket until it could be removed by animal control. The skunk was then sent to the state lab for testing.
This is the second case of rabies found in Egg Harbor Township in 2015. The previous case involved a fox collected from Lees Lane on September 27. The county's other rabies cases involved four bats and one raccoon.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health determined that the dog may have been exposed to rabies. It is current with its rabies vaccination but received a booster shot on October 28 as an added precaution and will be placed on 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 free rabies vaccination clinics for dogs and cats at 240 Old Turnpike Road in Pleasantville. The next clinic is scheduled for Sunday, November 15, 9-11 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 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.