(Gloucester Township, NJ) – The Camden County Health Department has been notified by the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services (NJDHHS) that a cat found in Lindenwold has tested positive for rabies.
On November 16, a Lindenwold resident found a sick stray cat. The resident picked up the cat in a cloth and brought it to a local animal hospital. The cat was exhibiting symptoms of rabies, was euthanized and the animal hospital arranged for rabies testing at the state Public Health & Environmental Laboratories in Trenton (PHEL).
The only known human exposure was the Lindenwold resident.
On November 21, the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services was notified by PHEL that the animal was rabid.
The resident and the employees of the animal hospital were notified. All precautions were taken at the animal hospital, so no exposures occurred there. Camden County health officials explained dangers of rabies to the Lindenwold resident and advised the exposed individual to speak to their physician regarding post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment for rabies.
“Rabies is a serious illness, but it can be prevented with early treatment,” said Commissioner Virginia Betteridge, liaison to the Camden County Health Department. “The dangers of rabies have been explained to those who were exposed to the cat and they were advised to speak to their physicians regarding post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment for rabies.”
No other information is available on those who were exposed.
Betteridge 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.
Betteridge 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 liter.
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.
Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might come in contact with people or pets.
When traveling abroad, avoid direct contact with wild animals and be especially careful around dogs in developing countries. Rabies is common in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Tens of thousands of people die of rabies each year in these countries.
Betteridge 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/ or, residents may call the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services at 856-374-6370.