EATONTOWN:An Eatontown resident is being treated for rabies after being bitten by a rabid raccoon earlier this month.
The resident, whose name is not being released, was attempting to break up an altercation between his dog and the raccoon and was bit by the animal, which State Department of Health Public Health Laboratory later confirmed tested positive for rabies according to a release from Monmouth County.
Both the resident and the dog are receiving Rabies Post Exposure Prophylaxis. The resident's dog has been administered rabies booster shots and is being observed for any signs of the illness.
"Fortunately this dog was up to date with his vaccinations," said Christopher Merkel, Monmouth County's Public Health Coordinator in the release. "This is a reminder to all other residents to check your pet's vaccination and health records and make sure they are current. Indoor animals should also be vaccinated."
The Eatontown Police issued a Code Red message following the attack stating that at least one case of a rabid wild animal in a residential area. The police did not offer any specifics on where the attack occurred.
The Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) has confirmed 10 cats and no dogs with rabies in the county over the past five years.
The MCHD encourages all residents to vaccinate their dogs and cats reminds them that they are not considered to immunized until 28 days after the vaccination.
The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the CDC each year from New Jersey occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks and bats, according to the release.
The CDC explains that the rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.
Monmouth County residents can bring their cats and dogs to the rabies clinics offered on 10 dates through June:
Saturday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m. to noon - Howell, Public Works Garage, Old Tavern Road
Saturday, Feb. 7 from 10 to 11 a.m. - Millstone Public Works Garage, Perrineville Road
Saturday, Feb. 28 from 2 to 3 p.m. - Shrewsbury Township, 1979 Crawford Street
Wednesday, March 4 from 6 to 7 p.m. - Neptune City Public Works Building, TFH Way
Saturday, March 14 from 9 to 11 a.m. - Allentown, Public Works Garage, Church Street
Thursday, March 19 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. - Atlantic Highlands, Firehouse at First and East Mount Avenues
Wednesday, March 25 from 6 to 7 p.m. - Lake Como, Firehouse at 1730 Main St.
Saturday, May 16 form 10 a.m. to noon - Marlboro, Public Works Garage, Wyncrest Road
Saturday, June 6 from noon to 2 p.m. - Asbury Park, Firehouse, 800 Main St.
Tuesday, June 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. - Englishtown, Public Works Building, 15 Main St.
No appointments are necessary, but vaccines are given on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the release.