New Jersey residents warned of rabid raccoons after girl attacked

Residents of the Franklin Township are being warned that a raccoon has been tested positive for rabies in the area. The raccoon had attacked a young girl earlier in November when the child was leaving nursery school in the area of Easton Avenue.

The raccoon was caught after scratching the girl, on Nov. 6, and was taken to the public health laboratory where rabies was confirmed. The girl is now undergoing preventative treatment for rabies.

"If you are bitten or attacked by an animal, do not delay in reporting it to the health authorities," Somerset County Health Officer Dr. Paul Masaba said. "Rabies is a serious illness that can be fatal in humans without treatment."

Rabies is preventable and can be treated with prompt medical attention. Franklin Township residents are being encouraged to contact the animal shelter or police department if they see an animal acting strangely, or if they are bitten or scratched.

The Associated Press also reported that another raccoon came into contact with a dog on Sept. 6 in the township.

According to the New Jersey State Department of Health, from 1989 through 2010, more than 6,000 animals in New Jersey were confirmed to have rabies - 77 percent were raccoons. New Jersey has an average of 280 animal rabies cases a year.


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