WASHINGTON BOROUGH, NJ (Warren County) – A bat found in a home in the vicinity of Railroad Avenue has tested positive for rabies, according to an alert from Washington Borough officials.
Officials said that residents should not be interacting with, handling, or feeding wildlife or stray animals.
Residents are reminded to make sure all domestic animals are currently up to date with a rabies vaccination. The borough also reminds residents not to feed domestic pets, strays, and feral colonies, and do not let your pets run free off leash to ensure they do not come in contact with wildlife that may be rabid.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. In the United States, rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. However, in many other countries dogs still carry rabies, and most rabies deaths in people around the world are caused by dog bites.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. 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. Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, staying away from wildlife, and seeking medical care after potential exposures before symptoms start.
The borough says if a bat has occupied the same living space as a sleeping or otherwise incapacitated individual, contact the Animal Control Officer at 908-674-3383 or Warren County Communications at (908) 689-2111. If residents come across a sick or injured animal, keep your distance and promptly report the sighting by calling either of those numbers.