Rabid raccoon confirmed in Waterford Township

The Camden County Health Department has confirmed that a raccoon removed from a yard in Waterford Township has tested positive for rabies.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, the animal was spotted in the resident’s backyard on June 18. The municipality’s animal control officer caught the raccoon and had it sent to the state’s Public Health and Environmental Laboratories in Trenton.

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No human was exposed to the animal, though there was potential exposure to the resident’s dog, officials said. The canine got a booster shot as a precaution.

“Although rabies is a serious illness, it can be prevented with early treatment,” said Commissioner Virginia Betteridge, liaison to the Camden County Health Department. “If you have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.”

Betteridge also emphasized the importance of responsible pet ownership and provided several recommendations for county residents:

Pet care:

  • Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats, and ferrets.
  • Supervise your pets to prevent contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance immediately.
  • Contact local animal control to remove stray animals from your neighborhood, as they may be unvaccinated and could be infected.

Avoiding contact

  • Enjoy wild animals like raccoons, skunks, and foxes from a distance. Do not handle, feed, or attract wild animals near open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not attempt to nurse sick animals; call animal control or an animal rescue agency for help.
  • Teach children not to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they seem friendly.
  • Prevent bats from entering living spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other areas where they might come into contact with people or pets.
  • When traveling abroad, avoid direct contact with wild animals and be particularly cautious around dogs from developing countries, where rabies is common.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/ or contact the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services at (856) 374-6370.

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