County Warns Residents About Rabies Threat

A raccoon. (File photo)
A raccoon. (File photo)

MONMOUTH COUNTY – A Belmar resident is receiving rabies post-exposure treatment after being bitten by a raccoon in his or her backyard.

The raccoon, caught by the Belmar Police Department and Monmouth County SPCA, will be tested for rabies.

While human attacks are relatively uncommon, attacks to outdoor pets are more likely. The Monmouth County Health Department is reminding residents to keep pets’ rabies shots up to date.

Rabies is fatal once symptoms develop.

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“Protecting your pets by keeping them current on their rabies vaccine is an important safeguard between wildlife rabies and human exposure,” Freeholder Patrick Impreveduto, liaison to the MCHD, said “Not only does the vaccine keep your pet safe, but it can help keep you and your family safe as well.”

Vaccinations are a must. In addition, residents should protect themselves and their pets by:

  • Avoiding animals they don’t know.
  • Keeping pets on their leashes. Do not allow pets to roam.
  • Never feeding or touching stray animals, especially stray cats, bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes and groundhogs.
  • Teaching children they should tell you if they are bitten or scratched by an animal.
  • Calling your doctor immediately if scratched or bitten, or exposed to fluids, of a wild animal.
  • Calling your vet immediately if your pet is exposed to a bat, raccoon, skunk or other wild carnivore.

“If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention,” Christopher Merkel, Monmouth County’s Public Health Coordinator, said.

For more information, call the Monmouth County Health Department at 732-431-7456.