Monday, July 30, 2018
Atlantic County health officials have confirmed the county’s second case of rabies this year in a raccoon collected on July 20 from a Walnut Avenue property in Egg Harbor Township.
The raccoon had initially been seen on the property by a neighbor who notified the owner. The homeowner later left its three dogs out into the yard where one dog encountered the raccoon. The raccoon retreated into a tree but was later captured by Wildlife Aid and sent to the state lab for rabies testing. It was confirmed positive for rabies on July 27.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health identified that one of the owner’s dogs had been bitten by the raccoon. The dog is current with its rabies vaccination but received a booster vaccination and was placed under a 45-day informal confinement as a precautionary measure.
Atlantic County’s first rabies case was confirmed in a Northfield raccoon in late April. In 2017, Atlantic County had a total of 4 rabies cases involving a raccoon, a cat, a skunk, and a fox. .
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 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, August 5, 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 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. 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.