Thursday, July 2, 2020
A bat collected from the 300 block of Hanthorn Avenue in Hamilton Township has been confirmed for rabies, the second rabies case in Atlantic County this year.
County health officials responded to a call from the homeowner of a live bat found in the yard that the family dog was investigating. The bat was sent to the state laboratory for testing where it was confirmed positive on July 1.
The dog was current on its rabies vaccination but was given a booster shot and placed under an informal 45-day confinement as precautionary measures.
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.
The first rabies case of 2020 was found in a Galloway raccoon in January. During 2019, rabies was confirmed in three raccoons, two bats and one skunk in Atlantic County.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter plans to resume its free rabies vaccination clinics for dogs and cats later this month in accordance with federal and state public health and safety guidelines for Covid-19. Vaccinations will be available by appointment. Once dates are confirmed they will be announced and registration will be available 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.