Monday, August 10, 2020
A raccoon that was collected from Ken Scull Avenue in Hamilton Township has been confirmed positive for rabies, Atlantic County’s fourth rabies case this year.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health determined that the owner’s two dogs found the raccoon in the back yard and the three animals started fighting. The owner was able to move the dogs inside and call for assistance from the local animal control officer. The raccoon was sent to the state lab for testing where it was confirmed for rabies on August 7.
Both dogs are currently vaccinated, but received a rabies booster for added protection and were placed on a 45-day informal confinement as a precautionary measure.
This is the second raccoon to test positive for rabies in Atlantic County this year. The other two rabies cases involved bats.
Atlantic County health officials remind residents of the importance of vaccinating their pets against rabies, a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Rabies vaccinations also help protect pet owners and their family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter is holding its next free rabies vaccination clinics for dogs on Sunday, August 23 and cats on Sunday, August 30 by appointment and in accordance with federal and state protocols to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Appointments can be made online at 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 four to 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. All bites should be reported 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.