Mannington Twp. – A positive rabies case was confirmed by the Salem County Health Department on Thursday December 5th involving a raccoon that bit a horse on a farm. After the horse was attacked, the owner handled the horse and was possibly exposed to the rabies virus through the saliva at the bite site.
The Salem County Health Department notified the owners of the horse to have the family member who was potentially exposed to the virus to go to the hospital for post exposure treatment. Since the incident involved a farm animal, the Cooperative Extension Service in Salem County was notified, and the New Jersey Division of Animal Safety will be following up with the owner.
Although the owner was not bitten, coming into contact with the raccoon’s saliva will spread the virus.
“Thankfully, the owner will be able to quickly receive treatment to make sure they stay healthy. We need to be careful when caring for bites and scratches from wild animals. Exposure to this virus is serious,” said Freeholder Bruce Bobbitt, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee.
“Fortunately the horse was current on his rabies vaccine, and had just received a booster shot from the vet,” said Freeholder Director Julie Acton. “We need to remain vigilant in keeping rabies vaccines up to date with our household pets and our farm animals. Rabies can be deadly.”
If you see a wild animal acting strangely on your property or near your pets, call your local animal control. For more information about rabies, go to CDC.gov/rabies or call the Health Department at 856-935-7510.