Rabid Raccoon Found in EHT

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Raccoons are among the wild animals that can carry rabies.

The second raccoon of the year has been confirmed for rabies, according to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health.

The raccoon was found in the back yard of a School House Road property in Egg Harbor Township by the owners’ two dogs. Animal control was contacted and removed the raccoon. It was then sent for testing at the state lab where it was confirmed positive for rabies on March 17.

An investigation by the Division of Public Health found the two dogs were current with their rabies vaccinations and both received boosters. Because the two homeowners handled the dogs after they encountered the raccoon, the homeowners received post exposure rabies vaccinations.

Rabies 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 one Sunday each month for both dogs and cats by appointment only at www.aclink.org/animalshelter. The clinics are held 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.