SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Middlesex County Office of Health Services is reporting that a cat tested positive for rabies in South Brunswick, Middlesex County, in the vicinity of Deans Lane and U.S. Route 1.

This is the second (2) rabid animal reported within Middlesex County for 2015 and the first (1) rabid animal reported in South Brunswick.

On Monday, July 13th, 2015, a resident who had trapped and held a feral cat brought the deceased animal to a local veterinarian. The cat was sent to the New Jersey Department of Health Laboratory for testing.  It was reported on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015, that the animal tested positive for rabies. The primary contact exposed to the cat was called and notified to consult with a physician regarding their exposure during the incident. Due to an extended potential contact time, the primary contact was advised to instruct any other potential contacts to the cat to also consult a physician.  Additionally, South Brunswick Animal Control was following up on treatment and quarantine of the litter of kittens that belonged to the cat.

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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. 

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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

 

 

Residents should avoid any contact with the animal and call your local animal control officer or local police department.

  1. Be sure that all family pets are up to date on their rabies vaccination. 

If unsure please call your veterinarian.

Call your local health department for free rabies vaccination clinic availability.

  1. Animal proof your home and yard. 

Make sure all garbage containers have tight fitting lids, do not leave pet food or water outside, do not allow rainwater to collect in outdoor containers or equipment and keep yard free of garbage and debris.

  1. Do not feed or handle wild animals.
  2. Avoid contact with stray animals or pets other than your own.
  3. Try to prevent your pets from coming into contact with wild animals.
  4. Screen off vents to attics and other areas that could provide shelter for bats.