Monday, July 22, 2019
A second bat collected in Pleasantville has tested positive for rabies, according to Atlantic County public health officials.
The bat was captured by animal control on July 18 from a residence on Oakland Avenue in Pleasantville. It was sent to the state lab where it was confirmed for rabies on July 22.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health identified three potential human exposures since it could not be determined how long the bat had been in the home. The individuals were advised to speak with their family doctor to see if post-exposure rabies treatment would be advised.
This is the county’s third confirmed case of rabies this year. In June, a rabid bat was found in a residence in the 100 block of Reading Avenue in Pleasantville, and in March a raccoon found in the 500 block of Delaware Avenue in Absecon tested positive.
Atlantic County Health Officer Patricia Diamond reminds residents to call animal control to remove stray animals from their homes or properties to help prevent transmission of disease from those that may be sick or unvaccinated.
In regards to bats, caution should be used to avoid direct contact, even with apparently healthy bats. Unusual behavior, such as a bat fluttering on the floor, or a bat flying in midday, is reason for particular care to avoid all human or animal contact with the bat.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated.
Pet owners are advised to protect their pets with a rabies vaccination that also helps protect their family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet.
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. 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. 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.