Friday, October 8, 2021
A raccoon collected from Mardor Avenue in Hammonton has been confirmed positive for rabies, according to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health.
The raccoon confronted three dogs in the backyard of the homeowner. A fight ensued and the raccoon was killed. The raccoon was collected by animal control and sent to the state lab for testing where it was confirmed for rabies on October 6.
An investigation by public health officials determined all three dogs were current with their rabies vaccinations. As a precautionary measure, each has received a rabies booster. There were no human exposures.
This is the sixth case of rabies in the county this year and the second found in a raccoon. Rabies has previously been confirmed in two bats, a fox and a feral cat.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated.
Residents are reminded that rabies vaccinations are important not only to provide protection for pets, but to also help protect the pet owner and their family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter holds free rabies vaccination clinics for dogs and cats each month. The next scheduled clinics are Sunday, October 10 for dogs and Sunday, October 17 for cats. Clinic hours are 9 AM – 12 noon. Appointments are required for each and can be made online, as available, at www.aclink.org/animalshelter.
Dogs and cats that 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 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.