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Rabies Exposure Reported in Franklin Township

 

The Somerset County Department of Health is warning residents that a stray kitten found in the area of Emerald Place in the Somerset section of Franklin Township has tested positive for rabies.
On or about Nov. 10, a Franklin Township resident was scratched by a black, brown and white tabby kitten.  The kitten was sent to the public health laboratory at the New Jersey State Department of Health where rabies was confirmed on Nov. 17.   The resident has been encouraged to undergo medical treatment for rabies prevention.

Anyone in contact with this kitten in the Emerald Place area or surrounding neighborhoods is asked to call county health officials at (908) 231-7155 as soon as possible. 

Franklin Township residents who see an animal acting strangely should call the Franklin Township Animal Shelter at (732) 873-2500, ext. 6255, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-2300, evenings and weekends.

“Pet owners should maintain a close watch over their pets – dogs, cats and other animals – to ensure that they do not come in contact with stray animals when outdoors,” said Somerset County Health Officer Dr. Paul Masaba. “Pets should not be permitted to roam outdoors.   However, if a pet has been outdoors unattended and is exhibiting unusual behavior, a veterinarian should be contacted.”
 
To prevent exposure to rabies, do not feed or handle unknown animals, and stay away from animals that are acting strangely.  Wild or feral animals, including dogs, puppies, kittens and cats, should not be brought into the home as they can be infected with the rabies virus.
 
Rabies is a serious and fatal disease in humans.  It is curable with prompt medical attention.  Anyone who is bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal should promptly wash the area with soap and water, seek medical attention, and report it immediately to the police and their local health department.  For contact information visit https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/health/localhealth.aspx#.VGuaEDTF-So
 
Rabies is transmitted through animal bites or saliva of an infected animal that can enter the body through cuts or scratches.   
In Somerset County, dogs and cats are required to be routinely vaccinated against rabies. Residents are reminded of the importance of making sure their pets’ shots are current.
 
Throughout the year, Franklin Township sponsors several free rabies clinics for township cats and dogs.  Upcoming clinics at the Franklin Township Animal Shelter, located at 475 Demott Lane, Somerset, will be held for dogs on Dec. 13, 2014, from 8 to 10 a.m. and for cats on March 14, 2015, from 8 to 10 a.m.
 
A listing of upcoming rabies clinics in Somerset County can be found on the Somerset County Department of Health events calendar at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/health/events.aspx#rabies
 
For further information on rabies, visit the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services website at www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/faq/rabies_faq.pdf