By Todd Quinones
MEDFORD TOWNSHIP, N.J., (CBS) – According to the Burlington County Health Department, at least three cats, one dog and 13 people have been exposed to a kitten with rabies in Medford Township.
Flyers from the health department warning people about the incident were handed out in the Medford Mill section of Medford on Wednesday shortly after tests results indicated the kitten had rabies.
Thirteen people have been exposed to the infected kitten after a group of girls found the kitten in a barn during a sleepover.
The kitten was in the vicinity of Eaves Mill Road, Route 541 and Route 70.
The health department is also responding to the areas of Medford Mews, Cherry Street and Firehouse Lane to provide information to residents in the affected area.
David Wenger says his daughter and a friend found the kitten in a barn during a sleepover about two weeks ago and it had an injured leg.
“It was kind of scary at first, like we didn’t know what to do with the cat, so we thought we’d bring it to my dad since he grew up with cats and he would know what to do,” she said.
“She couldn’t keep the cat so she took it to her aunt’s. She took it to her aunt’s, they had to take it to the vet, the cat passed away and then they found out it had rabies,” Wenger said.
Veterinarian Christopher Torre of the Mount Laurel Animal Hospital says rabies is usually transmitted to people and pets through bites from wild animals that break the skin.
So far, one dog and three other cats have also been exposed to the rabid kitten.
“Rabies can be a fatal disease so you always want to have your guard up and not take any chances,” Torre said.
Torre says if your pet is up to date on its rabies vaccination, the animal should be fine.
The Burlington County Health Department though is warning anyone who may have been exposed to see a doctor.
In a release, County Health Officer Holly Cucuzzella said, “Rabies is transmitted from infected mammals to humans usually through a bite, but scratches and saliva contact with broken skin or mucous membranes are also possible routes. Any person who had direct contact with the cat may have been exposed to rabies and should contact their doctor as soon as possible.”
Right now there is no indication rabies has been transmitted to anyone or any pets in the area.
The Burlington County Health Department warns homeowners who allow their pets to roam outside unattended to check the status of their pets’ last rabies shot. If it has been longer than one year, a booster shot should be given.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Frank Okyere at 609- 265-5531.
For additional information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/
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