Just because it's cold out and snow has already hit central New Jersey doesn't mean that the problem with rabies has disappeared with the warm weather.
The Middlesex County Office of Health Services reported that a Piscataway resident was bitten by a rabid fox Tuesday while he was out walking his dog.
The dog, which was vaccinated, was exposed to the rabid animal while it was protecting its owner.
Fortunately, the dog was up to date on its rabies vaccination shots, and was given a rabies booster injection while it's under a 45 day confinement observation.
The bitten owner received medical attention and has begun a series of rabies exposure vaccinations.
The fox was the 11th rabid animal reported within Middlesex County this year, and the fourth found within the wooded confines of Piscataway.
The county Office of Health Services warns residents to alert their local animal control officer if they see any wild animals showing signs of unusual behavior. In addition, homeowners should avoid contact with wild animals and report any bites to their local health department, whether the bite is to themselves or a domesticated animal.
Pet owners should also be sure to keep their animals up to date on rabies vaccinations.
Rabies is caused by a virus in the saliva in an infected animal, or by contamination in an open cut. New Jersey is known for raccoons and bats infected with rabies. Throughout the country, bats and raccoons, in addition to skunks, groundhogs, foxes, cats, and dogs represent about 95% of animals diagnosed with rabies.