Thursday, February 1, 2024
Atlantic County has confirmed its first rabies case of the year after a raccoon collected from the 100 block of Asbury Avenue in Egg Harbor Township tested positive for the viral disease on January 31.
In 2023, rabies was confirmed in three raccoons, three bats, two skunks and one cat.
Health officials were notified of a dog that had been brought to a vet for a rabies booster after having had contact with a raccoon. The raccoon was removed and sent to the state lab for testing.
The dog’s owner had no vaccination records for the dog, according to the Division of Public Health’s investigation, so it was placed under a four-month confinement. There were no human exposures.
Rabies can be 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. 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/animalshelter. The next clinic will be held on Sunday, February 4, 9 am – 12 noon at 240 Old Turnpike in Pleasantville.
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.
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 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
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.