MULLICA, N.J. – Atlantic County officials are reminding residents not to touch wild animals after a Mullica resident was bitten by a raccoon as he was trying to move the animal from his property.
The raccoon was confirmed to have rabies on July 25.
The animal was found in the yard of a property in the 1500 Block of Elwood Weekstown Road in Mullica. The raccoon appeared disoriented and staggered while walking.
“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,” Patricia Diamond, Atlantic County Public Health Officer said in a press release.
The Atlantic County Division of Public Health also identified possible exposure of the homeowner’s cat. The homeowner was told to begin a post-exposure rabies treatment. The cat will be given a booster and put under a 45-day informal confinement as a precautionary measure.
This is the fourth confirmed case of rabies in Atlantic County in 2019, and the second involving a raccoon. The other two cases were found in bats from Pleasantville.
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.
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.
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 August 25, from 9-11 a.m. Dogs must be brought on leashes and cats in carriers. For more information call 609-485-2345 or visit aclink.org/animalshelter.
For more information about rabies control and precautions to protect your family and your pets, please visit the county web site at aclink.org/publichealth or call 609-645-5971.