3/6/2012 - Health Dept: Rabies Reminder/Spring Cleaning Prevents Summer Pests/Lyme Disease Warning

Spring Wildlife Rabies Reminder

As we and our pets all go outdoors to enjoy the beautiful spring weather, the Hackensack Health Department reminds residents to be sure to license and vaccinate your pets against rabies. Both cats and dogs should be vaccinated against rabies. Since the raccoon rabies variant entered New Jersey in 1989, cats have accounted for about 90% of the domestic animal cases and are considered the terrestrial species of highest risk to transmit the disease to humans. Vaccinating pets creates a barrier to stop the chain of rabies infection from wildlife to pet to human. Residents can have their pets vaccinated for FREE at the Bergen County Animal Shelter, 100 United Lane, Teterboro, New Jersey. Call 201-229-4601 for the vaccination program schedule or go to their program calendar at http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/bcas/Calendar.aspx.

Pet license applications are available by calling our office at 201-646-3967 and on the City of Hackensack web site www.hackensack.org.

Rabies Quick Facts

During 2011, 257 terrestrial animals and 36 bats were confirmed to be infected with rabies, for a total of 293 animal cases. The total number of animal rabies cases in New Jersey has remained consistent over the last 5 years. Bergen County (46) had the largest number of diagnosed rabid animals in the State.

Rabies in humans is rare in the USA, with usually 1-2 human cases per year. The most common source of human rabies in the USA is bats. Bats have increasingly been implicated as wildlife reservoirs in the transmission of rabies to humans. Among the 19 naturally occurring cases of rabies in humans from 1997-2006, 17 (90%) were associated with bats. Three of the 17 cases were bitten by a bat, 11 either handled or had direct contact with bats but had no known bites and 3 reported no encounters with bats. These findings suggest that limited or seemingly insignificant physical contact with rabid bats may result in transmission of rabies virus to humans, even without a definite history of a bite. Thirty six bats were confirmed rabid in 2011, compared with 40 in 2010. The five year annual average of rabid bats from 2006-2001 was 45. The reduced number of bats identified with rabies in 2012 may be related to the decreased bat populations resulting from white-nose disease infections. Bat activity in New Jersey begins in the spring, when bats break hibernation, and continues through the fall when they return to hibernation.

New Jersey Human Rabies History

A Warren County, New Jersey man died of rabies on October 23, 1997, apparently from contact with bats in his home in July. There was no known history of the patient being bitten or scratched, but he did remove several bats from his residence using "rags" over his hands to protect himself. This was the first human case of rabies in New Jersey since 1971, when a person who was bitten by a rabid bat refused to complete rabies treatment (post exposure prophylaxis) and eventually developed the disease and died. Bites and other potential rabies exposures from bats pose a challenge to both officials and medical care providers, because bat bites may be less severe, heal rapidly, and are therefore, more difficult to find or recognize than bites inflicted by larger mammals.

Have your pets vaccinated for FREE at the Bergen County Animal Shelter, 100 United Lane, Teterboro, New Jersey, 201-229-4601 or see http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/bcas/Calendar.aspx for their rabies vaccination program schedule.

Spring Cleaning Prevents Summer Pests

With spring at our heals and summer on the way, the City Health Department provides the following suggestions to residents to help our City avoid the hazards and irritation of summer pests.

Prevent mosquitoes that can carry West Nile Virus:

Whenever water stands for 7 days, mosquitoes can multiply. Eliminating even small amounts of standing water eliminates mosquitoes.

• Dispose of empty cans, buckets, flowerpots, old tires, trashcans, etc.

• Clean clogged roof gutters

• Change water in bird baths and fountains at least weekly

• Stock ornamental ponds with goldfish

• Flush sump pump pits weekly

• Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use

• Drain swimming pool covers

Prevent other flies and other insects:

Unsecured garbage makes the perfect breeding environment for flies and other insects. Especially during the warmer months, residents should ensure that garbage containers have properly fitting lids that are kept closed. Containers should be kept clean, especially through the hottest months. A weekly rinse of the inside of the container right after garbage collection will help discourage insect breeding. If you are going on an extended vacation during the summer, make sure your garbage containers are clean before you leave. If you have to leave putrescible garbage in them while you are away, secure it in a tightly sealed plastic bag, inside of your regular garbage can with a tight fitting lid.

Discourage rodent and wildlife intrusion in your home and yard:

Store all garbage in securely covered containers. Use bungee cords to secure the cover to the container if necessary. Do not store garbage in plastic bags as animals can easily rip them open and the open garbage will attract additional wildlife.

Fireplace chimneys should be capped to prevent raccoons and squirrels from nesting in them.

Store firewood off of the ground and remove brush and other debris that provides harborage for wildlife.

Seal openings around, exterior doors and windows and where pipes and wires exit your home. 

April 13, 2012 - For Immediate Release From the New Jersey Department of Health & SS

Lyme Disease Surge Predicted For the Northeast U.S.

People heading into the woods this spring in Northeastern states will be at higher risk than usual of coming down with Lyme disease, according to researchers at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.

The tick population is expected to pose a far greater threat of Lyme disease transmission this spring.

Ticks feed as larvae, nymphs and adults, and the May-to-July nymph season will be especially dangerous because it is a time of year when many people head to the woods and ticks often go unnoticed.

“They’re really tiny — about as big as poppy seeds—so they’re hard to detect,” he said. “You might not even know they’re crawling on you or embedding in your skin. But infected nymphs are responsible for the vast majority of Lyme cases, he added
Cases of Lyme disease have spiraled over the past 30 years from a few hundred to 30,000 reported annually, with 90 percent of them occurring in the Northeast.

In 2010, 94% of Lyme disease cases were reported from 12 states:

• Connecticut
• Delaware
• Maine
• Maryland
• Massachusetts
• Minnesota
• New Jersey
• New Hampshire
• New York
• Pennsylvania
• Virginia