Residents should avoid wild animals

The Burlington County Health Department is asking residents to be cautious, and to avoid strange, wild and/or stray animals.

“We want to remind all residents that rabies is present in the county,’’ Freeholder Joanne Schwartz said. “Residents are encouraged to stay away from unfamiliar or wild animals.”’

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This year, there have been some confirmed cases of rabies in wildlife in Burlington County. Rabies can be seen in animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes and groundhogs.

Rabies is always fatal in animals and is fatal in humans if prompt treatment is not sought.

Pet owners are encouraged to have their pets vaccinated for rabies.

There is also a vaccine for humans that can be given to individuals who might have been exposed to rabies.

The vaccine is a series of injections that has proved effective in preventing the disease from developing in humans if administered early enough. The best way to avoid rabies is prevention.

To protect yourself against rabies:

• Do not touch or feed wild animals, or stray dogs or cats.

• Keep garbage in tightly sealed containers.

• Stay away from any animal that is behaving aggressively or a wild animal that appears ill or is acting unusually friendly.
Call your local animal control officer or police department to report the animal.

• If you find a bat indoors that may have had contact with someone, do not release it before calling animal control or the police to determine whether it should be tested.

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