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Hamilton skunk is county's eighth rabies case of year

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A skunk collected Tuesday from Hamilton Township is Atlantic County's eighth confirmed rabies case this year, health officials announced.

Homeowners found the skunk on their property in the 6800 block of Weymouth Road, and called Wildlife Aid to remove it, according to the report..

A state lab confirmed it was positive for rabies Friday.

Three dogs, three cats and two goats on the property may have been exposed to the skunk, according to an investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health.

The dogs and cats were up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations and were placed on a 45-day informal confinement, with a recommendation for the pets to receive a rabies vaccine booster. The state Department of Agriculture was contacted about the goats.

This is the second skunk to be confirmed for rabies. Rabies was also previously found in three raccoons, two bats and a cat.

Rabies is fatal if left untreated. It can be transmitted through direct contact with saliva through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth.

Most human cases of rabies are the result of a bite from an infected animal. If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention. All bites should be reported to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at 609-645-5971.

The Atlantic County Animal Shelter on Old Turnpike in Pleasantville offers free rabies vaccination clinics monthly by appointment.

The next one is from 9 a.m. to noon this Sunday. Appointments may be made at www.aclink.org/animalshelter.

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Public health officials advise residents to teach children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals. Never feed or touch wild animals or try to keep them as pets.

Residents should ensure trash cans have secure lids to prevent wildlife from foraging for food and not leave pet food outside. Many animals are also attracted to bird seed.

If you see wildlife that is behaving strangely, especially nocturnal animals such as skunks and raccoons found during daylight hours, do not approach the animal. Instead, call your local Animal Control Officer. Contact information is available on the county web site at: www.aclink.org/animal-shelter/municipal.asp

For more information about rabies control and precautions to protect your family and your pets, please visit the county web site at www.aclink.org/publichealth or call 609-645-59

Public health officials advise residents to teach children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals. Never feed or touch wild animals or try to keep them as pets.

author

Lynda Cohen

BreakingAC founder who previously worked in newspapers for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

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