SOUTH PLAINFIELD — The Middlesex County Office of Health Services is reporting that a raccoon found in South Plainfield, in the vicinity of Ivy Street and Clinton Avenue, tested positive for rabies.
This is the fourth rabid animal reported within Middlesex County for 2012 and the first rabid animal reported in the municipality of South Plainfield.
On June 8, an officer of Plainfield Humane Society Animal Control, which is contracted to provide animal control services in South Plainfield, responded to a report that a raccoon fought with a resident’s dog. Subsequently, the raccoon was killed by the resident. The Animal Control Officer picked up the raccoon at the resident’s home, and it was sent to the New Jersey State Department of Health Laboratory for testing. It was reported today that the animal tested positive for rabies.
The pet dog is current with its rabies vaccination and was placed under a 45-day notice of confinement for observation. Additionally, the pet dog will receive a rabies vaccination booster. The owners of the dog have been notified to contact their physician. The Middlesex County Office of Health Services is distributing rabies advisory flyers and fact sheets in the area.
The Middlesex County Office of Health Services continues to monitor rabies cases within the County. Residents should report wild animals showing signs of unusual behavior to their local Animal Control Officer. 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.
Rabies Prevention Guidelines
The Middlesex County Office of Health Services is advising residents to follow these guidelines in order to prevent rabies from being transmitted to themselves or their pets:
- Immediately report a bite from a wild or domestic animal to your local health department. Wash animal bite wounds thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible after the bite. Contamination of open cuts or scratches with saliva of potentially rabid animals should also be washed off immediately. Consult a physician as soon as possible.
- Immediately report any wild animal showing signs of unusual behavior.
- Signs of unusual animal behavior could be that the animal may:
- move slowly
- may act as if it is tame
- appear sick
- have problems swallowing
- have an increase of saliva
- have increased drooling
- act aggressive
- have difficulty moving
- have paralysis
- bite at everything if excited
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