Friday, April 1, 2022
A raccoon collected from Forrest Drive in Northfield has tested positive for rabies becoming the fifth case of rabies in Atlantic County this year, according to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health.
The homeowners discovered their two pet dogs attacking a raccoon that had entered the yard. Animal Control was called to remove the raccoon which was sent to the state lab for testing. It was confirmed positive for rabies on March 31.
An investigation by the Division of Public Health found one resident had been bitten or scratched after attempting to remove the dogs. He has been advised to consult his medical provider. Rabies vaccinations for both dogs had expired so they will be boostered and placed under a 45-day informal confinement for observation.
Public health officials remind residents of the importance of vaccinating their pets to protect both the animals and the humans with whom they have contact.
“Rabies can be fatal if left untreated which is why it is so important to vaccinate your pets,” stated Kara Janson, Acting Public Health director for Atlantic County. “A rabies vaccination not only protects your pet but also helps protect the pet owner and family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet.”
The county’s previous rabies cases this year have involved a fox collected from Hamilton Township and three skunks found in Egg Harbor Township.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter is holding its next monthly free rabies vaccination clinic on Sunday, April 10, 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. If available, appointments can be made online at www.aclink.org/animalshelter.
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.
Residents should also ensure trash cans have secure lids to prevent wildlife from foraging for food and not leave pet food outside. Many animals are also attracted to bird seed.
If you see wildlife that is behaving strangely, especially nocturnal animals such as skunks and raccoons found during daylight hours, do not approach the animal. Instead, call your local Animal Control Officer. Contact information is available on the county web site at: www.aclink.org/animal-shelter/municipal.asp
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.