September 28th is World Rabies Day- this global health observance was started in 2007 to raise awareness and is an opportunity to reflect on how rabies impacts communities. While rabies is a 100% preventable disease, nearly 60,000 people die from rabies around the world each year.
Human rabies cases in the United States are rare, however human exposures to suspect or confirmed rabid animals continue to occur in New Jersey and require prompt public health action to prevent human disease.
On average, 200-300 animals test positive for rabies annually in New Jersey. It is important to prevent rabies with actions such as such as vaccinating pets, avoiding contact with wildlife, ensuring access to animal control, and seeking prompt medical care for rabies exposures.
Rabies is caused by contact with the saliva of an infected animal. If you come in contact with an animal you suspect might be rabid, don’t delay. According to the CDC, rabies exposure is not an emergency, but it is an urgency. If you’ve been bitten or scratched, wash the wound with soap and water and see a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Also seek help if you’ve touched an animal that may be rabid. More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.
Mark your calendar now for our upcoming rabies clinics. Questions? Call 609-737-0120.