Friday, March 22, 2019
Atlantic County health officials are reminding residents of the importance of protecting their pets with a rabies vaccination after reporting the first confirmed case of rabies in Atlantic County this year in a raccoon found on a property located in the 500 block of Delaware Avenue in Absecon.
Animal Control was called to the property to collect a raccoon that appeared sickly. The raccoon was humanely euthanized due to its poor condition and sent to the state lab for testing where it was confirmed positive for rabies on March 20.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health could not rule out possible contact and exposure by the property owner’s dog. The dog is current with its rabies vaccination but was placed under a 45-day informal confinement as a precautionary measure.
In 2018, Atlantic County had a total of 3 rabies cases involving two raccoons and a bat.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Pet owners are advised to protect their pets with a rabies vaccination.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter provides a free rabies vaccination clinic for dogs and cats once a month at 240 Old Turnpike Road in Pleasantville. The next clinic will be in April.Dogs must be brought on leashes and cats in carriers. For more information call (609) 485-2345 or visit 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. Report all animal bites 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.