Camden County submitted the following news release:
During the evening of Jan. 1, a Gloucester Township family found an ill kitten on their property. They brought the animal into their residence in an attempt to nurse it back to health. It died the next night, Jan. 2.
The Animal Control Officer for Gloucester Township picked up the kitten and arranged for rabies testing on Jan. 3. On Jan. 4, the Camden County Department of Health was notified that the animal had tested positive for rabies.
The entire family was exposed to this animal and will be receiving rabies prophylaxis. The family has two dogs that may have been exposed to the kitten. The dogs are thought to be current with their rabies vaccinations and will be receiving prophylaxis from their veterinarian.
“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 an unfamiliar animal it is important that you seek immediate medical attention.”
Rodriguez urged county residents protect themselves, their families, and their pets from rabies by observing 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 not be vaccinated and could be infected by the disease.
Rodriguez 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.
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.