Friday, July 15, 2016
A second case of rabies has been confirmed in as many days in a cat belonging to a Mullica Township resident.
The Atlantic County Division of Public Health reports a cat that received a wound of unknown origin in April became ill in June and was brought to an animal hospital for treatment.
The cat began displaying neurological symptoms consistent with rabies as its condition continued to deteriorate. After being euthanized it was tested for rabies and confirmed positive for the viral disease on July 14.
This is the eighth confirmed rabies case in Atlantic County this year and the first found in a cat. Rabies was previously confirmed in two bats, four raccoons and a skunk.
An investigation by the Division of Public Health determined that the homeowner, two vet technicians and a domestic cat may have been exposed. The homeowner and the technicians will begin post-exposure rabies treatment while the cat will be placed on observation.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Atlantic County reported eight rabies cases in 2015 among bats, skunks, raccoons and a fox. Pet owners are advised to protect their pets with a rabies vaccination.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter provides a free rabies vaccination clinic for dogs and cats once a month at 240 Old Turnpike Road in Pleasantville. The next clinic will be held on Sunday, July 17, 9-11 AM at the shelter. 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.
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.