For immediate release by:                                        
Katherine Antonitis, Acting Director-Health Officer                  
Middlesex County Public Health Department    
July 12, 2011                                                                                                                          

Middlesex County Public Health Department
John Dowd


Rabies Advisory – July 12, 2011

The Middlesex County Public Health Department is reporting that a stray cat tested positive for rabies in Piscataway, Middlesex County, in the vicinity of Grandview Avenue and Lucille Court.

This is the second rabid animal reported within Middlesex County for 2011 and the first  rabid animal reported in the municipality of Piscataway. 

On July 10, 2011, the Piscataway Animal Control Officer responded to a report that a stray cat was found at a resident’s home.  The stray cat was picked up at the resident’s home by the Animal Control Officer, brought to a veterinarian where it was euthanized, and sent to the New Jersey State Department of Health Laboratory for testing.  It was reported July 12 that the animal tested positive for rabies. Two residents have been contacted and advised to speak to a physician regarding their exposure to the stray cat. Additionally, the Middlesex County Public Health Department is distributing rabies advisory flyers and fact sheets in the area.

The Middlesex County Public Health Department continues to monitor rabies cases within the County.  Residents should report wild animals showing signs of unusual behavior to their local Animal Control Officer.  Additionally, it is recommended that residents should avoid contact with wild animals and immediately report any bites from wild or domestic animals to your local health department and consult a physician as soon as possible.  Finally, be sure that all family pets are up to date on their licenses and rabies vaccinations.      

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.  New Jersey is enzootic for raccoon and bat variants of rabies.  Bats, raccoons, skunks, groundhogs, foxes, cats, and dogs represent about 95% of animals diagnosed with rabies in the United States.

Rabies Prevention Guidelines

The Middlesex County Public Health Department is advising residents to follow these guidelines in order to prevent rabies from being transmitted to themselves or their pets:

Residents should avoid any contact with the animal and call your local animal control officer or local police department.