Rabid Bat Discovered in Hopewell Township Home

A recent announcement indicates that health officials have reported a case of rabies in a private residence in the Elm Ridge Park neighborhood located in Hopewell Township, New Jersey. Specifically, the report claims that a bat discovered within the home tested positive for the deadly virus. The bat in question was submitted for testing at the New Jersey Public Health & Environmental Laboratory on May 10th, with test results indicating a positive outcome reported to the Township Health Department just a couple of days later on May 12th.

Rabies is known to be a viral disease that can be fatal should there be any exposure to animals carrying the virus. This usually occurs through bites or when an animal’s saliva comes into contact with a person’s mouth, eyes, or on an open wound or sore. However, if those infected seek vaccination immediately after exposure, rabies is preventable. Those who did not come into contact with the bat mentioned previously have no cause for concern about developing rabies.

Although most bats are usually not seen as having a high risk of transmitting rabies, those who act unusually, e.g., lying on the ground, or being active during the daytime could suggest otherwise, and people should not attempt to handle them. Instead, they should contact Hopewell Township Animal Control immediately. It is important to note that an infected bat may appear to be behaving normally. People who have had any form of contact with a bat or who have been bitten should report the incident right away to their Local Health Department. Further information on bats and the risk of rabies can be found by visiting the provided link.

To avoid the spread of rabies, pets should be up to date with their rabies vaccinations, and individuals should avoid handling all types of wildlife. Rabies poses a real danger, especially to unvaccinated dogs and cats. Additionally, raccoons, skunks and coyotes have proven to be carriers of the virus and should be approached with caution. While human rabies cases are rare in the United States, it is crucial to wash any scratches or wounds inflicted by an unfamiliar animal or a suspected rabies carrier immediately with soap and water before seeking medical attention.

It is important to report all scratch, cuts or bites of animals, whether they are suspected of carrying rabies or not. Reporting is essentially a legal obligation of exposed individuals and medical professionals to assure rapid actions are taken to protect the individuals involved, and the public at large. Health Department and Animal Control personnel will make efforts to locate, capture, and diagnose suspected animals to definitively identify if the animal is infected.

To protect families and pets from rabies, individuals should make sure their pets and domestic animals are up to date with their rabies vaccinations and ensure that children and pets do not approach or touch wild or unfamiliar animals. Crawl spaces, chimneys, attics, porches, or garages in homes should also be shielded or covered with thick wire screen to prevent entry by wild animals. Wild animal foraging should be discouraged by not leaving pet food outside and securing garbage cans. Individuals are advised to avoid feeding, touching, or housing any stray or wild animal.

If an animal appears to be sick, injured, orphaned, or behaves oddly, individuals are to avoid interacting with the animal and contact Hopewell Township Animal Control immediately. Wandering animals should also be monitored to assist Animal Control with locating and capturing them. A daytime number for Animal Control has been provided, and individuals can contact the police non-emergency line for night and weekend inquiries concerning animal-related issues.

In conclusion, residents of Hopewell Township are urged to take precautions to protect themselves and their pets from the deadly effects of rabies. The risk of rabies infections can be avoided through vaccination and by avoiding contact with wild animals. Individuals are further instructed to report any scratch, bite, or cut from animals, whether suspected of carrying rabies or not, as animal stray movement needs to be documented. If caught early, rabies is usually preventable.

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