OLD BRIDGE – A raccoon has tested positive for rabies in the vicinity of Juniper Court and Washington Avenue in Old Bridge.
This is the 24th rabid animal reported within Middlesex County for 2016 and the third animal reported in Old Bridge, according to information provided by the Middlesex County Office of Communication from the Middlesex County Office of Health Services.
On Dec. 4, a raccoon was found in the yard of an Old Bridge resident and brought into the home. Animal Control officers were dispatched to the home and secured the raccoon. The raccoon later expired in Animal Control custody and was sent to the New Jersey Department of Health Laboratory for testing, according to the statement.
It was reported on Dec. 7 that the animal tested positive for rabies. Two people were exposed to the raccoon and were given written notices to see their physicians, according to the statement. Middlesex County Office of Health Services’ Registered Environmental Health Specialists will be distributing rabies fact sheets within the area.
The Middlesex County Office of Health Services continues to monitor rabies cases within the municipality. Residents should report wild animals showing signs of unusual behavior to the Police Department. Additionally, it is recommended that residents should avoid contact with wild animals and immediately report any bites from wild or domestic animals to your local health department and consult a physician as soon as possible. Finally, be sure that all family pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations and licenses.
Rabies is caused by a virus which can infect all warm-blooded mammals, including man. The rabies virus is found in the saliva of a rabid animal and is transmitted by a bite, or possibly by contamination of an open cut. New Jersey is enzootic for raccoon and bat variants of rabies. Bats, raccoons, skunks, groundhogs, foxes, cats, and dogs represent about 95% of animals diagnosed with rabies in the United States.