The Atlantic County Division of Public Health is reporting a case of rabies in a horse located in Buena Borough. The horse’s owner sought treatment for the horse after it was behaving strangely. The horse was transported for treatment and diagnosis but died upon arrival. It was then sent for testing and was confirmed positive for rabies on October 13, 2022.
Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral infection of the nervous system and prompt medical care is required for effective treatment. Rabies is relatively uncommon in horses with only 30-60 cases confirmed each year in the U.S.
An investigation by the Division of Public Health is ongoing to identify any possible human, livestock or domestic pet exposures.
This is the 10th confirmed case of rabies this year in Atlantic County. Rabies has previously been confirmed in a groundhog, two raccoons, four skunks, a fox and a cat.
Rabies is transmitted through direct contact with saliva through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth. Most human cases of rabies are the result of a bite from an infected animal. If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention. All bites should be reported to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at (609) 645-5971.
A rabies vaccination is recommended for domestic animals to not only protect the pet but also the pet owner and family members who could contract rabies from an infected pet.
Public health officials also advise residents to teach children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals. Never feed or touch wild animals or try to keep them as pets.
Residents should also ensure trash cans have secure lids to prevent wildlife from foraging for food and not leave pet food outside. Many animals are also attracted to bird seed.
If you see wildlife that is behaving strangely, especially nocturnal animals such as skunks and raccoons found during daylight hours, do not approach the animal. Instead, call your local Animal Control Officer.
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