What is the history of rabies in New Jersey?

In the earlier part of this century, New Jersey had a large problem with rabies in dogs. In 1939, the worst year for dog rabies, 675 dogs and four humans died of rabies. In 1942, a rabies program consisting of mass vaccination of dogs, and pick-up of stray animals was initiated. As a result of these efforts, New Jersey experienced its last case of canine rabies in 1956. In 1960, the first case of rabies in bats was detected in New Jersey. Presently, 2% to 5% of all New Jersey bats submitted to the state laboratory for testing are positive for rabies.

In 1997, a New Jersey man was diagnosed with rabies. He had removed bats from his house and may have been bitten by a bat in the process. This was the first human case of rabies since 1971, when a man was bitten by a bat and received partial treatment with the previously used rabies vaccine. The current vaccine, unlike the previous vaccine, has never failed when administered properly.

New Jersey is facing another challenge from rabies. Raccoon rabies has spread throughout the state.

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1. What is the history of rabies in New Jersey?
2. How did the outbreak of rabies in raccoons get started in this part of the country?
3. What areas of New Jersey are affected the most?
4. How can I protect myself from being exposed to rabies?
5. How do I "animal-proof" my house and yard?
6. Do I still need to vaccinate my cats and dogs against rabies?
7. Why recommend that domestic animals get vaccinated if raccoons are the animals spreading rabies?
8. Can raccoons be vaccinated against rabies?
9. What should I do if I'm bitten or attacked by an animal?
10. Why does my dog or cat need to be observed if it bites someone?
11. If my ferret bites someone can my ferret be observed for 10 days?
12. Can I get rabies from a squirrel or a mouse?
13. Why do animals need to be killed in order to be tested for rabies?
14. How do people get rabies?
15. What are the symptoms of rabies in humans?
16. Is there a treatment for rabies?
17. What is the protocol for rabies post-exposure treatment?
18. What are the chances that I will get rabies if I am exposed to a rabid animal and don't get the rabies treatment?
19. How can rabies be prevented?