MT. LAUREL, N.J. (CBS) — A fox that was in the vicinity of Mt. Laurel has tested positive for rabies and the county Health Department is issuing a warning to residents.

The Burlington County Health Department has advised that a fox that was submitted for rabies testing on April 17th has tested positive for rabies.

The fox was in the vicinity of Burry Port Way in The Lakes development in Mt. Laurel Township.

The Health Department is concerned that some individuals and/or family pet/s may have been in contact with the fox.

The Health Department is asking for your cooperation in this matter.

1. If you or your family pet/s have been scratched or bitten by wild life animals or stray cats or dogs in this neighborhood in the last month, you are asked to contact the Burlington County Health Department.

2. Check the status of your pets’ rabies vaccine. Have your pet receive a rabies booster if it spends time outdoors, outside of your supervision and has not received its latest rabies shot within the last three months.

3. Do not feed stray cats in the neighborhood. Avoid all wild animals – especially bats, skunks, foxes, cats and raccoons.

Rabies is a fatal viral disease that affects the brain. The rabies virus lives in the saliva (spit) of infected animals and is spread from a bite or when saliva from an infected animal touches broken skin, open wounds or the lining of the mouth, nose, or eyes.

Rabies in certain animals — especially wildlife — is common in New Jersey.

Charles Garrity, an animal control officer for seven townships in Burlington County, says he gets one or two calls per week for foxes and coyotes sightings have picked up in the last few weeks.

“All of a sudden when they’re having their babies they are starting to show up a lot more,” says Garrity.

He says attacks on humans by foxes and coyotes are extremely rare but pets are at risk.

“They’re definitely carrying rabies. Most of the domestic animals are vaccinated but it’s a high threat level right now,” says Garrity.

If you have any questions or concerns, you are asked to contact the Communicable Disease Division at 609-265-5533.

For additional information, on rabies see: