The Burlington County Health Department has reported that a raccoon found in the vicinity of Falls Court in Medford has tested positive for rabies.
The department has advised residents to keep a safe distance from stray or wild animals and to call their municipality for animal control if a stray or wild animal is discovered. Residents should not feed or try to capture any wildlife or stray animals.
Homeowners who allow their pets to roam outside unattended should check the status of their pets’ last rabies shot. If it has been longer than one year, a booster shot should be given.
“Rabies is transmitted from infected mammals to humans usually through a bite, but scratches and saliva contact with broken skin or mucous membranes are also possible routes,” said County Health Educator Holly Cucuzzella.
“Any person who had direct contact with the raccoon or other wild or stray animals in the areas where these raccoons were found may have been exposed to rabies and should contact their doctor as soon as possible,” she added.
Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the nervous system and is fatal in humans without prompt treatment.
The disease is spread when a rabid animal’s saliva contacts another animal or human through wounds in the skin, typically a bite.
If bitten, treatment should begin as soon as possible. Current vaccinations are relatively painless and given as close to the injured area as possible.
If bitten, scratched or licked by a wild animal:
- Immediately wash bite wounds with plenty of soap and water
- Get prompt medical attention
- Get a description of the animal
- Report the bite to your local health department
For more information on rabies, visit the county website at: http://lbws01/upload/Health/Images/rabies2003.PDF