Friday, October 20, 2023
A bat collected from the 200 block of Cherry Street in Hammonton on October 14 has been confirmed as Atlantic County’s ninth rabies case of the year.
A homeowner found a dead bat in his garage. The bat was collected by an animal control officer and sent to the state lab for testing where it was confirmed positive for rabies on October 18.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health found no risk of exposures.
This is the third bat to be confirmed for rabies. Rabies was also previously found in three raccoons, two skunks and a cat.
Rabies is fatal if left untreated. It can be transmitted through direct contact with saliva through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth.
Public health officials 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 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
Residents should 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 find a bat in your home, try to keep it contained in the room in which it is found and contact police, animal control or the Division of Public Health to have it collected.
Most human cases of rabies are the result of a bite from an infected animal. 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.
A rabies vaccination is recommended for domestic animals to not only protect the pet but also the pet owner and family members who could contract rabies from an infected pet.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter provides free rabies vaccination clinics for both dogs and cats by appointment only at www.aclink.org/animal-shelter. The next clinic will be held on Sunday, November 19, 9 am – 12 noon, at 240 Old Turnpike in Pleasantville.
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.