(Gloucester Township, NJ) – The Camden County Health Department has been notified by the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services (NJDHHS) that a raccoon removed from a yard in Cherry Hill has been tested positive for rabies.
On February 23, it was discovered that a dog in the family had an injury of unknown origin. Hours later, a deceased raccoon was discovered in the yard of the Cherry Hill home. The Cherry Hill Animal Control Officer (ACO) picked up the raccoon and arranged for rabies testing at the State Public and Environmental Health Laboratories in Trenton (PHEL).
There is no known human exposure to this raccoon.
On February 28, the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services was notified by PHEL that the animal was rabid.
The ACO associated with Cherry Hill and pet owners have been notified. The owners have provided proof of vaccination for the dog, he has received a rabies booster and will be under confinement and observation for 45 days.
“While rabies is a serious disease, fortunately there was no human exposure in this case and the dog involved was treated,” said Commissioner Carmen Rodriguez, health department liaison. of Camden County. “The disease can be prevented with early treatment, so if you have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately.”
Rodriguez urged county residents to observe a few simple rules, including acting responsibly as a pet owner:
- Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats and ferrets.
- Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come into contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately.
- Contact your local animal control agency to remove all stray animals from your neighborhood. They may not be vaccinated and be infected with the disease.
Rodriguez said it’s also important to avoid direct contact with unfamiliar animals:
- Appreciate wildlife such as raccoons, skunks and foxes from afar. Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or a liter.
- Never adopt wild animals and never bring them into your home. Do not attempt to treat sick animals. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they seem friendly.
- Prevent bats from entering dwellings or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools and other similar places where they may come into contact with people or pets.
- When traveling abroad, avoid direct contact with wild animals and be especially careful with dogs in developing countries. Rabies is common in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Tens of thousands of people die each year from rabies in these countries.
Rodriguez said interested residents can learn more about rabies via the Internet by accessing information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/ or, residents can call the Camden County Department of Health and Health. Social Services at 856-374-6370.