EDISON, NJ – Middlesex County health officials said Wednesday that a rabid cat was found in the area of Woodbridge Avenue and Mill Road.

According to a press release from the Middlesex County Office of Health Services, a resident found the cat in that area on November 12 and attempted to care for it.

The cat’s health deteriorated and was eventually put to sleep at a local veterinarian’s office, according to the release.

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The vet sent the cat to the New Jersey Department of Health’s laboratory for testing and it was determined on November 28 the cat had rabies, the release said.

This marks the 13th rabid animal located in Middlesex County and the first in Edison, officials said.

Officials said there were two confirmed human exposures to the deadly virus, and they were advised to seek treatment from their primary care physician, according to the release.

Middlesex County Office of Health Services’ and Edison Health Department Registered Environmental Health Specialists will be distributing rabies fact sheets within the area, the release said.

The Middlesex County Office of Health Services and Edison Health Department continues to monitor rabies cases within the municipality, the release said.

Residents should report wild animals showing signs of unusual behavior to police, and should avoid contact with wild animals and immediately report any bites from wild or domestic animals to the local health department and consult a physician as soon as possible, according to the release.

Families should also be sure that all pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations, officials said.

According to health officials, rabies is caused by a virus which can infect all warm-blooded mammals, including man.

The 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 a prime location for raccoon and bat variants of rabies, according to officials.

Bats, skunks, groundhogs, foxes, cats and dogs represent about 95 percent of animals diagnosed with rabies in the Unites States, officials said.

Health officials released the following guidelines for dealing with rabies in the community.

Rabies Prevention Guidelines

 The Middlesex County of Health Services is advising residents to follow these guidelines in order to prevent rabies from being transmitted to themselves of 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 and scratches with saliva of potentially rabid animals should also be washed off immediately. Consult a physician as soon as possible.
  2. Immediately report any wild animals showing signs of unusual behavior. Unusual behavior from a rabid animal can include slow movement, sick appearance, problems swallowing, an aggressive stature, increase drooling and saliva and difficulty moving. Residents should avoid any contact with the animal and call your local animal control officer or local police department.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Do not feed or handle wild animals.
  6. Avoid contact with stray animals or pets other than your own.
  7. Try to prevent your pets from coming into contact with wild animals.
  8. Screen off vents to attics and other areas that could provide shelter for bats