East Brunswick rabies case is fifth confirmed in Middlesex County in 2018

Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | May 8, 2018 | MonroeNow

Another raccoon tested positive for rabies, Middlesex County health officials said last week. This is the fifth confirmed case in the county in 2018 and it was the first one reported in East Brunswick.

In late April, the East Brunswick animal control officer responded to a report of a “raccoon displaying neurological symptoms near a resident’s home,” in the area of Washington Avenue and Port Street, the county said. “The raccoon was euthanized and subsequently sent to the New Jersey Department of Health Laboratory for testing.”

After the April 28 incident, county officials received confirmation on May 2 that the raccoon tested positive for rabies. Despite the positive test, health officials said there are “no known human or domestic animal exposures to the [rabid] raccoon.”

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.

In its statement, the county said it would continue to monitor for additional rabies cases in the municipality and that “it is recommended that residents should avoid contact with wild animals and immediately report any bites from wild or domestic animals to your local 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.”

The county’s first 2018 confirmed rabies case was in Monroe on Feb. 5. That case also involved what turned out to be a rabid raccoon. Monroe’s animal control officer responded to the area of Spotswood Gravel Hill Road and Garvey Drive for a report that a resident’s dog killed a raccoon.

Some signs that an animal may have rabies include: moving slowly, may act as if tame, appear sick, has problems swallowing, has an increase in saliva, has increased drooling, acts aggressive, difficulty moving, has paralysis and bites at everything if excited.

For more information about rabies, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, cdc.gov/rabies. For a list of upcoming rabies vaccination clinics in Middlesex County, click here.