Three animals in two counties have tested positive for rabies in recent days, adding to a growing total across the state.

In Middlesex County, a fox was the 11th rabid animal in the county, and the second with rabies in East Brunswick this year. The fox was found on Oct. 5, when animal control responded to a report of a dog bitten by the fox. The was sent to the New Jersey Department of Health laboratory, and the test was confirmed on Oct. 11.

In addition to the fox, Middlesex County authorities confirmed that a bat tested positive for rabies in North Brunswick on Oct. 5. The bat was the first rabid animal reported in North Brunswick, and was found in a township home, authorities said. There were no known human exposures to the bat, and no domestic animal exposures either.

A raccoon tested positive for rabies in Somerset County, officials in North Jersey confirmed. The animal was reported found by a resident of Far Hills when she was walking her four dogs on Oct. 6, officials said. The raccoon was captured and taken to the Department of Health, where it tested positive for rabies.

The dogs in both counties had up-to-date rabies shots, but were given booster vaccines in an abundance of caution, authorities said. The dogs in Far Hills are under quarantine for 45 days, while their owner received a post-exposure rabies vaccine.

Officials in Middlesex County urged residents to stay away from wild animals, and report any animals that show signs of unusual behavior to their local police department. Unusual behavior can include moving slowly, appearing sick, having problems swallowing, an increase in saliva or drooling, or acting aggressively. Any bites should also be reported to the local health department, and to their physicians immediately.

"If you are bitten or attacked by an animal, do not delay in reporting it to the health authorities," Somerset County Health Officer Dr. Paul Masaba said. "Rabies is a serious illness that without treatment can be fatal in humans."

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