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Mays Landing Kitten Tests Positive For Rabies

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

A family kitten that was attacked by a raccoon at a residential property on Birch Street in Mays Landing has tested positive for rabies, according to Atlantic County Health Officer Patricia Diamond. An investigation by county health officials indicates that there were seven possible human exposures and four confirmed animal exposures. This is the fifth case of rabies in Atlantic County in 2009 and the first case involving a domestic cat.

"Most cases of rabies found in Atlantic County are among raccoons and bats, but statistics show that unvaccinated domestic animals, especially cats, pose the greatest threat to humans," stated Diamond.

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The family's two adult pet cats and their four nine-week old kittens were in the back yard when a raccoon entered the yard and grabbed a kitten. The property owner approached the raccoon and it dropped the kitten and ran into the woods.

The kitten and the other cats were placed under 6 month confinement. Because seven family members may have been exposed to infected saliva as a result of direct contact with the kitten, they will undergo post-exposure treatment that consists of a series of injections over a 30-day period.

Unfortunately, the kitten's condition continued to deteriorate and it began to display symptoms associated with rabies. It was then taken to the Atlantic County Animal Shelter on September 1 where it was examined and later euthanized. It was sent for testing at the New Jersey State Department of Health laboratory. Test results were confirmed on September 2.

Diamond reminds residents about the importance of vaccinating their pets and keeping their vaccinations current. Dogs and cats that receive an initial rabies vaccination are not considered immunized until 28 days after the vaccine has been administered. It is therefore strongly recommended that any animal newly vaccinated or those too young to receive the vaccine (less than three months old), not be left outdoors unattended. An unvaccinated or newly vaccinated pet left outdoors may sustain an exposure to a known or suspect rabid animal that may result in euthanasia or six months confinement.