GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Atlantic County’s sixth case of rabies in 2019 was recently confirmed in a raccoon collected from a property in the 400 block of Highland Avenue in Galloway Township. The county’s previous 2019 rabies cases included two raccoons, two bats, and a skunk.
According to county health officials, on December 23 a homeowner noticed an ill raccoon in their backyard when the individual let their two dogs outside. The homeowner called police for assistance who promptly responded and found the animal injured and disoriented. It soon succumbed to its injuries.
The raccoon was removed from the property by an animal control officer and taken to the state lab for testing where it was positively confirmed for rabies.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health found both dogs are current on their vaccinations. As a precautionary measure, each dog received a rabies booster vaccination and is being placed on a 45-day informal confinement. Had their vaccinations not been current, their confinement could have been as long as four months.
Atlantic County health officials remind residents of the importance of vaccinating their pets against rabies, a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated.
“Rabies vaccinations also help protect family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet,” Atlantic County Public Health Officer Patricia Diamond said in a press release.
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, January 12, from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. 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, the county 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 their 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. All bites should be reported 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’s website at www.aclink.org/publichealth or call (609) 645-5971.