Atlantic County has confirmed the 11th case of rabies this year in a raccoon collected from Bala Drive in Somers Point, according to an Atlantic County news release.
This is the third raccoon to test positive for rabies in 2022. Other confirmed cases in the county involved a horse, a groundhog, four skunks, one fox and a cat.
The raccoon was found by a homeowner in the backyard. The raccoon appeared sick and the homeowner contacted Wildlife Aid. The raccoon died shortly thereafter and was sent to the state lab for testing, where it was confirmed positive for rabies on Nov. 16.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health found no human or animal exposures.
Rabies is a viral disease that 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 each month for both dogs and cats by appointment only at www.aclink.org/animalshelter.
The next clinic will be held on Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 am to 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.