The Rutherford Board of Health has reported that a raccoon that attacked a dog this past Tuesday, 3-31-2020, tested positive for rabies. The dog in question has been re-vaccinated against rabies and is under a 45-day rabies advisory notice.
Residents should be advised of the following:
. People should stay away from wildlife, particularly wildlife that is acting sick, aggressive, unusually friendly to people or paralyzed. Abnormally acting wildlife or other animals should be immediately reported to the Rutherford Police Department at 201-939-6000.
. All cats and dogs should be kept currently vaccinated against rabies. Pet owners should monitor the expiration dates of their pet’s rabies vaccinations and revaccinate their animals prior to expiration. Dogs and cats are required to be licensed through the police department records bureau (201-460-3045).
. If a person is bitten by any animal, they should receive medical attention and be evaluated for a rabies exposure. If possible, the biting animal should be captured, contained, and ownership information gathered so the animal can be evaluated. Animal bites are required to be reported to the local health department.
. Persons who find bats in their homes should contact the Rutherford Police Department immediately for guidance. If someone was bitten or had direct contact with a bat it should be captured and contained if possible. Bat-proofing to prevent bats from entering the living space of residences should be undertaken to prevent future exposures.
The state health department has reported that raccoons continue to have the highest level of laboratory confirmed cases of rabies in New Jersey with 139 new cases in 2019, 5,847 cases since January 1989.
Residents with questions can reach out to the Rutherford Health Department weekdays at 201-460-3020.