Rabies entered Bergen County in the early 1990's and became epidemic in raccoons. It has since become endemic but is always a potential danger to humans and domestic animals if exposed to a rabid animal.
If you have any questions about rabies or a possible rabies exposure, call your municipal health department or animal control agency at 201-752-4260.
Spring is a time when many species of animals have young. When the young are injured or orphaned, residents should follow simple rules for handling them safely. Safe handling procedures protect both residents and the animals.
If you find an animal that is orphaned or injured, contact the Animal Control Program immediately. The officers will provide detailed instructions on proper procedures. Handling a wild animal without protection can expose the person to rabies and can result in the animal being destroyed. Generally, wildlife is best left alone.
The following links provide more detailed information on dealing with ophaned or injured animals:
Rabies is caused by a virus that affects mammals. Wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats, groundhogs and fox are commonly affected. The most common domestic animal affected in New Jersey is the free-roaming cat. Rodents such as chipmunks, squirrels, rats and mice are rarely affected. Reptiles, amphibians, fish and birds do not get rabies.
Rabies usually occurs in two forms. One is "dumb rabies." The animal usually looks sickly, has trouble walking and falls, appears to be drunk and can be paralyzed. The other form is "furious rabies." The animal is very aggressive and vicious. The animal will chase and attack other animals and humans.
Warning: Avoid unknown domestic or wild animals especially if they appear abnormal. Report the animal to your municipal animal control agency and health department.
- Rabies-Questions and Answers (NJ Dept of Health & Senior Services)
- Rabies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- New Jersey Certified Animal Control Officers Association
- The American Veterinary Medical Association
Disclaimer: Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by the Bergen County Department of Health Services (BCDHS), and none should be inferred. The BCDHS is not responsible for the content of the individual organization web pages found at these links.