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Rabies Vaccination Clinics Scheduled For Cape May County
Release Date: January 08, 2013

January 8, 2013

Cape May Court House – Freeholder Kristine Gabor and the Cape May County Department of Health remind pet owners and all animal lovers that the best way to avoid potential exposure to rabies is to make sure that dogs and cats are vaccinated. Health Officer Kevin Thomas said, "An encounter with a potentially rabid animal could be fatal for your pet--particularly if your pet is not currently vaccinated--and puts your family in danger of also being exposed to rabies." In 2012, 310 cases of rabies in animals were reported in New Jersey, including two raccoons in Cape May County (Upper Township and Middle Township). An additional raccoon has tested positive in Upper Township for 2013. All three rabid raccoons had involvement with pet dogs. The first dog was unvaccinated and was put to sleep. The two other dogs were vaccinated against rabies and are currently under observation. While the majority of NJ animal rabies cases are in wild animals such as raccoons, bats and skunks, it is important to remember that family pets may also be infected. Cats have accounted for 90% of the domestic animal cases seen in New Jersey since 1989.

Rabies is fatal in humans, therefore, any animal bite should be taken seriously. The rabies virus is shed in the saliva of animals that are infected with the virus. If an animal bites you, wash the wound, seek medical attention immediately and notify the Cape May County Department of Health and your municipal animal control agency. If your pet has contact with a wild animal, contact your veterinarian and the Department of Health right away.

There have been 3 human rabies cases in NJ since 1956, occurring between 1971 – 2011 (2011 case was imported from Haiti). There have been no human cases in Cape May County or southern NJ in the past 50 years due to strong public health and animal control efforts. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 40,000 people nationwide each year receive rabies post-exposure prophylaxis as a precaution because they have been bitten or potentially exposed to a rabid animal. Persons traveling outside the United States should be aware that the risk can be much greater in other countries. Each year, an estimated 55,000 people die from rabies worldwide.

State law requires all dogs 7 months and older to be licensed with the local municipality and rabies vaccination is a requirement for licensing. Most municipalities also have ordinances for cats. “Getting dogs and cats vaccinated is not only the right thing to do to protect your pet and your family,” said Thomas, “but it can also mean the difference between a 45-day observation period and a 6-month enforced quarantine if your pet has contact with a wild animal.” To help pet owners with the licensing requirement, many municipalities hold free or low-cost rabies vaccination clinics. Call your municipality to confirm clinic dates and times.

Dennis Township January 26, 2013: 1 – 3 p.m.
Dennis Township Public Works, 571 Petersburg Rd., Dennisville

Middle Township January 26, 2013: 2 – 3 p.m.
Middle Township Public Works, 400 W. Mechanic St., CMCH

Ocean City January 26, 2013: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Ocean City Humane Society, 1 Shelter Road, Ocean City

Upper Township January 26, 2013 and February 23, 2013: 1 – 3 p.m.
Shore Veterinary Animal Hospital, 73 Hope Corson Rd., Seaville

Woodbine March 16, 2013: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Woodbine Ambulance Building on DeHirsch Ave., Woodbine

For more information on animal rabies, go to: http://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/rabies/moreinfo.shtml

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