Tuesday, July 7, 2020
For the second time in one week, a bat collected from an Atlantic County homeowner’s property has tested positive for rabies.
In this case, the bat was collected from the 1400 block of 12th Avenue in Weymouth Township on June 30. It was sent to the state lab for testing and confirmed positive on July 6.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health noted that the owner’s three dogs were near the dead bat when it was found. All of the dogs are current on their rabies vaccinations, but as a precautionary measure, they will each receive a rabies booster and be placed on a 45-day informal confinement.
This is the third confirmed case of rabies in Atlantic County this year and the second that involved a bat. A bat in Hamilton Township was confirmed positive on July 1.
The first rabies case of 2020 was confirmed in January in a raccoon in Galloway. In 2019, rabies was confirmed in three raccoons, two bats and one skunk.
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 pet owners and their family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet.
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.