FAR HILLS – The Somerset County Department of Health is warning residents that a raccoon found in the area of Lake Road in Far Hills has tested positive for rabies.

On March 8, two dogs were in a conflict with a raccoon and attacked the raccoon. The raccoon was sent to the public health laboratory at the New Jersey Department of Health, where rabies was confirmed. Both of the dogs’ rabies vaccinations are current. The dogs were placed under confinement by Animal Control Solutions. The owner will be requested to extend the confinement for the dogs by 45 days, as required by the state Department of Health. Both of the dogs received a rabies booster.

Far Hills residents who see an animal acting strangely should call the Police Department at (908) 234-1192.

Sign Up for E-News

“If you are bitten or attacked by an animal, do not delay in reporting it to the health authorities,” said Somerset County Health Officer Dr. Paul Masaba. “Rabies is a serious illness that can be fatal in humans without treatment.”

People can get rabies through animal bites or when saliva of an infected animal enters the body through cuts or scratches. Rabies is preventable with prompt medical attention. Anyone who is bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal – including stray dogs and cats – should promptly wash the area with soap and water and seek medical attention. If a pet is bitten or scratched, take it to a vet promptly. In either case, be sure to report the incident immediately to the police and the local health department. For health department contact information in Somerset County municipalities, visit http://bit.ly/MunicHealth

Suburban areas in which raccoons, people and pets are in close proximity have the highest number of cases. Last year, the state Department of Health reported a total of 113 rabid raccoons in New Jersey, five of which were in Somerset County.

In Somerset County, dogs and cats are required to be routinely vaccinated against rabies. Residents are reminded of the importance of making sure their pets’ shots are current.

A listing of upcoming rabies clinics in Somerset County can be found at http://bit.ly/HealthCalendar This listing is updated as clinic dates are added.

For further information on rabies, visit the New Jersey Department of Health website at http://bit.ly/RabiesFAQ