The Atlantic County Division of Public Health is reminding residents to take precautions to prevent rabies exposure. Most human cases of rabies are the result of a bite from an infected animal. Rabies can be transmitted through direct contact with saliva through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth. If left untreated, rabies is fatal.
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, Monday through Friday during business hours, and at (609) 909-7200 after hours and on weekends.
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
In 2022, Atlantic County reported 11 cases of rabies among four skunk, three raccoons, a fox, a groundhog, a horse and a domestic cat. Thus far in 2023, two raccoons have been confirmed for rabies.
Never feed or touch wild animals or try to keep them as pets. Keep your pet on a leash. Do not allow it to roam and come in contact with rabid wildlife.
Residents should also 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.
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 at www.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 www.aclink.org/publichealth or call (609) 645-5971.