NJ Health Warning Hits Woodbridge Amid Rabies Fears – NBC New York

Health officials in New Jersey are sounding the alarm after a feral cat found in Woodbridge Township tested positive for rabies and scratched two people, potentially infecting them as well, authorities say.

The cat was found last Friday on Edward Street in the Iselin section of the township when animal control officers responded to a call about a feline acting abnormally during daylight hours. It also appeared sick.

The calico-colored critter was safely captured and taken to a forensic lab, where tests showed it was positive for rabies. Now authorities are directing their attention to an apparent “colony” of feral cats in the area that may have been exposed — and two people who live on Edward Street who were scratched by the rabid animal are being monitored closely.

The state has instructed animal control officers to capture any feral cats in the Edward Street vicinity.

Rabies is usually spread through an animal bite, though human cases are rare. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle spasms, paralysis, mental confusion and other problems. If you think you’ve been bitten, seek immediate medical attention. Rabies affects the central nervous system and can be fatal in people without urgent treatment.

The CDC says pet vaccination and staying away from wild animals are the best preventive measures.

Any Woodbridge resident who may have seen or come into contact with any of the neighborhood cats around Edward Street is advised to call the health department at 732-855-0600 x 5007. Health officials also offered these tips:

  • Don’t come into close contact with stray or wild animals that can spread rabies, including cats, raccoons, foxes, skunks, groundhogs, dogs or cats; don’t let kids play with or feed federal cats or other wildlife
  • Make sure trash, garbage and recycling containers are closed tightly
  • Be cautious when you see feral cats or other wild animals acting erratically. If you notice that behavior, call the health department’s animal control division at 732-855-0600 x5007
  • Make sure your pets are up to date with their vaccination. If not, take them to the vet immediately for a rabies vaccine
  • If you’re bitten by an animal, especially one acting abnormally, contain it if you can safely do so or get a good description, cleanse the wound and seek medical attention for yourself

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