Thursday, January 16, 2020
Atlantic County’s first rabies case of 2020 has been confirmed in a Galloway raccoon collected from a property on 100 block of Sterling Avenue, according to county health officials.
A homeowner found a raccoon in the backyard and called for assistance. The raccoon appeared ill and was removed and sent to the state lab for testing where it was confirmed positive for rabies on January 15.
Although the homeowner’s dog was also in the backyard at the time, an investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health found there was no contact with the raccoon. The dog did, however, receive a rabies booster as a precautionary measure.
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 family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet,” advised Atlantic County Public Health Officer Patricia Diamond.
During 2019, rabies was confirmed in three raccoons, two bats and one skunk in Atlantic County.
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 is scheduled for Sunday, February 9, from 9 AM to 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. 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.