NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - County officials are reporting  a skunk tested positive for rabies in New Brunswick. It was discovered at New York Avenue and Lincoln Place - the second rabid animal reported in Middlesex County this year.

Last Wednesday, a New Brunswick animal control officer reported a resident's dog killed the skunk, which was then sent to the New Jersey Department of Health Laboratory for testing. It was reported today, Feb. 26, that the animal was rabid.

County officials do not believe there was human exposure to the skunk. The resident’s dog has a current rabies vaccination. The county will be distributing rabies fact sheets within the area to educate residents about the incident.

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The Middlesex County Office of Health Services continues to monitor rabies cases within the city.

Residents should report wild animals showing signs of unusual behavior to the New Brunswick police.  Additionally, it is recommended that residents should avoid contact with wild animals and immediately report any bites from wild or domestic animals to the city's 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.

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 bite, or possibly by contamination of an open cut. New Jersey is enzootic for raccoon and bat variants of rabies. Bats, skunks, groundhogs, foxes, cats and dogs represent about 95% of animals diagnosed with rabies in the Unites States.

Rabies Prevention Guidelines

The Middlesex County of Health Services is advising New Brunswick residents to follow these guidelines in order to prevent rabies from being transmitted to themselves of 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 and scratches with saliva of potentially rabid animals should also be washed off immediately.

Consult a physician as soon as possible.

Immediately report any wild animals showing signs of unusual behavior.

Signs on unusual animal behavior could be that the animal may:

  • Move slowly                                       
  • May act as if tame
  • Appear sick
  • Have problems swallowing
  • Have and increase in 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.

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.

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