The Camden County Health Department has been notified by the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services that a skunk removed from a Cherry Hill Township yard has tested positive for rabies.
During the afternoon of Nov. 25, two family dogs caught and killed a skunk in the backyard of a township home. The animal control officer for Cherry Hill was notified by the homeowner. The officer picked up the skunk and had it prepped for submission for rabies testing at the New Jersey Public Health & Environmental Laboratories in Trenton. On Nov. 28, the Camden County Health Department was notified that the animal was rabid.
The dogs are current with their rabies vaccinations, and the owner has been advised by the Camden County Health Department to have the dogs seen by their veterinarian to receive rabies boosters. In addition, state regulations dictate that the dogs be confined and observed for 45 days from the date of the incident. The state has not provided the name or address of the family.
“Although rabies is a serious illness, it can be prevented by early treatment,” said freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Health Department. “If you have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal it is important that you seek immediate medical attention.”
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 in 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 any stray animals from your neighborhood. They may be unvaccinated and could be infected by the disease.
Rodriguez said it’s also important to avoid direct contact with unfamiliar animals:
Enjoy wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, and foxes from afar. Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. 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.
Rodriguez said interested residents can learn more about rabies through the internet by accessing the information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies. Residents may call the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services at (856) 374–6370.