Friday, February 19, 2021
The first rabies case of 2021 was confirmed on February 17 after a raccoon collected from a property in the 300 block of Sooys Landing Road in Port Republic tested positive.
The raccoon was discovered by a homeowner in a chicken coop on the property. The raccoon had killed several chickens and proceeded to chase the homeowner when approached. Animal control was called to remove the raccoon. It was then sent to the state lab for testing.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health determined there were no human or animal exposures. Officials remind residents, however, 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 is holding its next free rabies vaccination clinics for cats on Sunday, February 28 and dogs on Sunday, March 14, 9 AM – 12 noon each day, by appointment and in accordance with federal and state protocols to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Appointments can be made 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.