A Gloucester Township family is being treated for exposure to rabies after taking in a sick stray kitten that died a day later, Camden County health officials said Friday.
The unidentified family of two adults and two children found the kitten Tuesday night and tried to nurse it back to health, the officials said in a statement.
But the kitten died Wednesday night, and a township animal control officer who picked it up arranged to have it tested for rabies the next morning.
Test results came back positive Friday, and officials told the family members they would have to receive rabies prophylaxis shots because of their exposure to the animal.
Two dogs in the house thought to be current with their rabies vaccines will receive prophylaxis treatment as well, officials said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the treatment for humans for exposure to rabies consists of a regimen of one dose of immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over 14 days.
The vaccines are relatively painless and are given in the arm, like a flu or tetanus vaccine, the CDC said.
"Although rabies is a serious illness, it can be prevented by early treatment," said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Health Department. "If you have been bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal it is important that you seek immediate medical attention."
Rodriguez said residents should report stray animals and not take them in because they could be infected with the disease.