A Clementon family noticed a dying bat in its yard Monday afternoon. The family notified the Camden County Health Department, and the Animal Control Officer (ACO) for Clementon was contacted.
The ACO picked up the bat and arranged for rabies testing. The bat was submitted to the NJDHSS Public Health & Environmental Laboratory (PHEL) in Trenton.
On Thursday, the PHEL notified the Camden County Health Department that the bat tested positive for rabies. The family's dogs, which may have been exposed to the bat, will be seen by their veterinarian.
The Clementon Borough Clerk’s Office has also been notified.
“Although rabies is a serious illness, it can be prevented by early treatment,” Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Health Department, said. “If you have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal it is important that you seek immediate medical attention.”
Rodriguez urged county residents to observe a few simple rules, including acting responsibly as a pet owner:
- Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats, and ferrets.
- Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately.
- Contact your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood. They may be unvaccinated and could be infected by the disease.
Rodriguez said it’s also important to avoid direct contact with unfamiliar animals:
- Enjoy wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, and foxes from afar. Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or liter.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they seem friendly.
- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might come in contact with people or pets.
- When traveling abroad, avoid direct contact with wild animals and be especially careful around dogs in developing countries. Rabies is common in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Tens of thousands of people die of rabies each year in these countries.
Residents may also call the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services at 856-374-6370.