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Rabid Feral Kitten Found In Township

Anyone who made contact with a grey and white kitten in the Charles Street area between December 10 and 15 should check with their doctor, county health officials said on December 17.

The kitten tested positive for rabies after it was found and brought to the Franklin Township Animal Shelter on December 15, according to a press release from the Somerset County Health Department.

The kitten, who was obviously sick, was taken in by a family on December 10, prior to their taking it to the animal shelter.

Shelter personnel immediately brought the kitten to the Easton Animal Clinic, where it was examined and euthanized, according to the release.

The animal’s remains were then sent to the state Department of Health where it tested positive for rabies, according to the release.

Residents who see a wild, feral or unfamiliar animal acting strangely should avoid the animal and immediately call their local police department or animal control, according to the release. Feeding of wild animals or animals that you do not own is strongly discouraged, because of the risk of rabies. 

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

Rabies is preventable with prompt medical attention.  People can get rabies through animal bites or when the saliva of an infected animal enters the body through cuts or scratches.  Anyone who has been bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal – including stray dogs and cats – should promptly wash the area that has been affected with soap and water and seek immediate medical attention. If your pet has been bitten or scratched, take your pet to the vet promptly.

Report any incident of animal bites to the police and local health department as soon as possible. Contact information for local Health Departments in Somerset County can be found at: http://bit.ly/HealthDepts.

The best protection against rabies is for pet owners to make sure that their pets get rabies vaccinations on a regular basis and that vaccinations are current. When rabies clinics are scheduled in Somerset County, the information can be found at http://bit.ly/HealthCalendar. The listing is updated as clinic dates are provided to the county health department.  Residents also can look to their veterinarian for information. 

For more information about rabies, visit the New Jersey Department of Health website at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/rabies.shtml.

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