Gloucester Township, NJ (WTXF) Health officials in Camden County are urging caution after a bat removed from a home tested positive for rabies.
According to officials, on August 10, a Haddon Heights homeowner found a bat in his home. The bat was picked up by the Haddon Township Animal Control Officer (ACO) and submitted for testing at the state Public Health & Environmental Laboratories in Trenton (PHEL).
Officials say on August 16, the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services was notified by the New Jersey Department of Health that the animal was rabid. The household members were notified of the result and advised to seek rabies prophylaxis.
"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:
1. Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats, and ferrets.
2. 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.
3. 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:
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/
or, residents may call the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services at 856-374-6370.