The Middletown Township Health Department has received laboratory confirmation of a bat testing positive for rabies. This new reports bring the total number of wild animals testing positive for rabies this year to 5 (1 bat, 4 raccoons).
The bat was tested after it had an altercation with a dog. This incident happened in the area of Bryna Drive, located in the Lincroft section of Middletown. Luckily, the dog was up to date on its rabies vaccination and only needed to receive a rabies booster and a 45-day quarantine, according to Health Department Director Rich DeBenedetto.
In light of finding a rabid bat, the health department wants to remind residents about the possibility of wildlife being infected with rabies. All domestic animals (dogs, cats, and livestock) should be up-to-date with their rabies shot. If the dog involved in the latest incident has not been vaccinated, the owner would have been ordered to confine the animal for six months in an approved pen or facility or humanely euthanized the pet to protect the family members from possible exposure to the rabies virus, DeBenedetto added.
Residents should not be interacting with wildlife. Any homeowners that have bats nesting anywhere in their house should contact a licensed professional pest control service.
Those who come across a sick or injured animal are advised to keep their distance and contact animal control at 732-615-2094 or 732-615-2097 immediately or the police department after hours and on weekends.
Rabies is a fatal disease. The best course of defense is the vaccination of pets and not handling or interacting with wildlife.