A raccoon located in Pennsville, around the Highland Avenue area, was submitted to the state Public Health and Environmental Laboratory for rabies testing and was found to be positive for the rabies virus. The raccoon was in this area around the date of May 26, 2024. In April, two raccoons tested positive for rabies in the Princeton Road & Dolbow Avenue areas of Pennsville.

Earlier this month, a skunk around the Finns Point Lighthouse area (Fort Mott & Lighthouse Rd) and another raccoon in the Harding Avenue area also tested positive for rabies.

While no human or animal exposure is known at this time, residents are strongly advised to take the following actions:

1. Ensure all pets are up to date on rabies vaccinations. Pennsville Township will be holding a free rabies vaccination clinic on Saturday, June 15, 2024, from 10am12pm at the Pennsville Firehouse located at 91 1st Street, Pennsville. Residents are encouraged to attend.

2. Remove all food and water sources from your yard to avoid attracting any animals into your yard.

3. Secure all trash cans and block access to hiding places in your yard.

4. Maintain control of pets at all times by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.

5. Avoid all contact with any stray cats and wildlife. Never feed or approach wild animals. Be careful of pets that you do not know. If you see a stray dog or cat, don’t pet it.

6. If exposed, wash all animal bites or scratches immediately with soap and water and seek medical care as soon as possible.

7. If you observe any stray cats or wild animals with visible wounds or acting strangely, notify your local animal control officer or the police immediately. Do NOT attempt to capture or remove the animal yourself.

Some of the behaviors to look for are general sickness, fever, loss of appetite, unusual vocalization (sounds), convulsions, seizures, problems swallowing, excessive drool or saliva, an animal that is overly aggressive, an animal that bites at imaginary objects, an animal that appears tamer than you would expect, an animal that’s having trouble moving or may even be paralyzed, and/or any change in behavior.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous systems of humans and other mammals. In the United States, rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. The virus is transmitted through exposure to tissue, saliva, or any body fluids from an infected animal. The highest risk exposure involves a bite, a scratch, or other break in the skin. This results in direct exposure to the virus in the infected animal’s saliva, tissue, or other body fluids. If left untreated, rabies is fatal in humans and animals. Therefore, following exposure, medical treatment and laboratory testing of the infected animal are required for appropriate preventive treatment in humans. If a person does not receive the appropriate medical care after a potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death.

If you believe you were exposed to this raccoon, please consult a doctor or hospital IMMEDIATELY regarding post exposure rabies treatment, which prevents rabies from developing. If you believe your pet was exposed, notify this office, and call a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. Studies have shown that people who have been exposed to rabies from a domestic animal, but begin treatment within 10 days of the exposure, are successfully prevented from developing the disease. People exposed to rabies from wild animals should begin treatment as soon as possible, but no later than 3-5 days after the exposure.

If you have any questions, please contact the Environmental Division at 856-935-7510 x8448.