Atlantic County confirms another rabies case in EHT

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Residents Urged to Vaccinate Pets

Atlantic County’s second confirmed case of rabies this year has been found in a raccoon picked up from a Malaron Circle property in Egg Harbor Township.

According to the property owner, the raccoon was found in the back yard on March 14 aggressively scratching at the home’s back door. Egg Harbor Township police and the local animal control officer were called for assistance. The animal was removed and sent to the state lab for testing where it was confirmed positive for rabies on March 19.

The owner reported that its dog was in the yard at the time of the incident. An investigation by the Division of Public Health is ongoing to determine whether the dog had contact with the raccoon and if it is current with its rabies vaccination.

The Atlantic County Animal Shelter provides a free rabies vaccination clinic each month for dogs and cats. The next one will be held on Sunday, March 30 from 10 AM to 12 noon 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

Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. It is most common in raccoons and bats, but has also been found in skunks, foxes, cats, groundhogs and other wildlife in New Jersey. 

The first rabies case of 2014 was found in a skunk, also located in Egg Harbor Township. Atlantic County reported eight positive rabies cases last year, four of which were raccoons, two bats and two cats.

Residents who find a wild or stray animal on their property should leave it alone until an animal control officer, police officer or other responder arrives on the scene to capture and/or remove it.                                                           

Public health officials recommend the following steps to protect your family and pets from rabies:

Make sure your dog or cat's rabies vaccination is current. Residents may check with their local municipality for the date and location of their annual rabies vaccination clinic or attend one of the county’s free monthly clinics;

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; it can come in contact with rabid wildlife;

Teach your children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals;

Never feed or touch wild animals, especially bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, or groundhogs. Do not try to keep these animals as pets;

If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention; and

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.


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