Saturday, January 8, 2022
The first rabies case of 2022 was confirmed on January 7 after a fox collected from a property in the 6300 block of Spruce Street in Hamilton Township tested positive.
The homeowner let her dog out in the back yard where it encountered a fox under the deck. The dog was immediately brought into the house while the fox repeatedly attacked a metal pipe and eventually died. Animal control was called to remove the fox. It was then sent to the state lab for testing.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health determined the dog was current on its rabies vaccination. It was given a booster and placed under a 45-day informal confinement as a precautionary measure.
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 is holding its next free rabies vaccination clinic on Sunday, January 16, 9 AM – 12 noon, for both dogs and cats 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.