502 Millbrook Avenue, Randolph, NJ 07869-3799
Tel: 973.989.7100Fax: 973.989.7076

Rabies Alert

Posted: March 21, 2013

On March 1, 2013, a raccoon suspected of carrying rabies was captured and euthanized in Denville Township (Indian Lake area). It was immediately transported to the NJ Department of Health’s Public Health Laboratory in Trenton where it tested positive for rabies.

Because many open spaces in Randolph are contiguous to the Denville line, residents are urged to exercise caution while enjoying our trails. Please read the following advisory issued by the Randolph Township Health Department. For more information, call the department at 973.989.7050.

Rabies is caused by a virus which can infect all warm-blooded mammals, including man. The rabies virus is found in the saliva of a rabid animal and is transmitted by a bite, or possibly by contamination of an open cut.

Bats, raccoons, skunks, groundhogs, foxes, cats and dogs represent about 95% of animals diagnosed with rabies in the U.S. Domestic farm animals and other wild animals may also become infected. Rodents such as mice, chipmunks and squirrels are rarely infected.

Rabid animals are usually either very vicious and aggressive (“furious” rabies) or act stuporously and are partially or totally paralyzed (“dumb” rabies). They often have trouble walking and may appear to be “drunk.”

People should stay away from all wild and stray animals which are aggressive or appear to be sick. Some wild animals, such as raccoons, skunks, and groundhogs, may be infectious even though they appear to be normal, and these animals should be avoided at all times. Wild animals may carry other communicable diseases in addition to rabies.

How to protect yourself from rabies

  • Make sure that your pets have “CURRENT” rabies vaccinations.
  • Do not feed or handle wild animals.
  • Keep your garbage contained.
  • Restrain your pets; prevent them from coming into contact with wildlife.
  • Avoid contact with strays or pets other than your own.
  • Report stray pets or any “suspect” wild animals to the police department immediately.

What to do if you are bitten

  • Immediately cleanse the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Get prompt medical attention from a physician or hospital emergency room.
  • Immediately report all animal bites to the local health department having jurisdiction where the bite occurred.
  • If you are bitten by a dog or cat or other domestic animal, obtain as much information about the animal as possible, including owner name, address, and telephone number, a description of the animal, and the animal’s vaccination status.
  • Biting dogs and cats should be kept under observation for 10 days from the time of the bite to ensure that they are free of rabies; if already showing signs of rabies at the time of the bite, they should be sacrificed immediately and tested for rabies. Dogs or cats which die or are euthanized within 10 days after biting a person must be submitted for rabies testing.
  • Bites from other domestic animals (such as horses, cows, goats, and sheep) will be evaluated by your local health department; these animals can usually be observed for a period of 14 days to rule out the possibility of rabies.