Thursday, July 25, 2019
Atlantic County health officials remind residents not to touch wild animals after a Mullica resident was bitten by a raccoon he was attempting to remove from his property. The raccoon was confirmed positive for rabies on July 25.
The raccoon was found in the yard of a property in the 1500 block of Elwood Weekstown Road in Mullica. It appeared disoriented and staggered while walking.
In addition to the one human exposure, an investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health also identified one possible exposure of the homeowner’s cat. The homeowner was advised to begin post-exposure rabies treatment and the cat will receive a booster and be placed under a 45-day informal confinement as a precautionary measure. If the cat’s vaccination status could not have been confirmed, its confinement would have been four months.
This is the county’s fourth confirmed case of rabies this year, and the second involving a raccoon. The other two cases were found in bats collected from Pleasantville.
“Residents who find stray animals on their properties should call animal control for removal to help prevent the transmission of disease from animals that may be sick or unvaccinated,” stated Patricia Diamond, Atlantic County Public Health Officer.
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.
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. Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Pet owners are advised to protect their pets with a rabies vaccination that also helps protect their family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet.
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 is scheduled for Sunday, August 25, from 9 AM to 11 AM. 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.
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.