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From reports by The Tribune staff
PRATTVILLE – A stray cat in Prattville had rabies, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).
In a press release on Friday, the ADPH advised residents to take precautionary measures.
The cat scratched a person in the Durden Road area. The person saw the stray cat act aggressively towards their own cat and was scratched while attempting to separate the cats.
The stray was taken to the Prattville / Autauga County’s Humane Shelter, where rabies was confirmed.
According to Dr. Vaccinating your pet is the best way to ensure that the animal is protected from such rabid animal encounters, Dee W. Jones, the state public health veterinarian. A pet exposed to rabies who is currently vaccinated is very unlikely to develop rabies and is allowed to undergo a much less stringent quarantine after a booster vaccination.
Dr. Jones urges people to be aware of the vaccination status of their animals.
ADPH offered the following information about rabies:
The rabies virus is transmitted through saliva. In general, rabies exposure requires direct contact with infected saliva, usually through a bite or scratch, but other, less frequent, contact exposures to mucous membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth) are also considered potential exposures.
Residents of the area are advised to take the following precautions to avoid possible exposure to rabies:
· Do not let pets roam free; cage them in a fenced area or on a leash.
· Do not leave uneaten animal feed or food scraps near where you live.
· Do not illegally feed or keep wild animals as pets.
· Avoid going near wildlife or pets that are acting strange or abnormally.
· Warn children not to approach stray or wild animals, regardless of their behavior.
· Advise children to notify an adult if they are bitten or scratched by an animal.
A person bitten or scratched by an animal should immediately wash wounds with mild soap and water, provide first aid and seek medical attention, or contact the county health department immediately.
Alabama state law requires dogs, cats, and ferrets 12 weeks of age and older to be vaccinated against rabies. Rabies vaccinations are also available for horses and other farm animals if recommended by a veterinarian. Vaccinating animals reduces the risk of rabies infection in the event of exposure; Vaccinations thus contribute to the protection of the animals as well as their owners and carers.
For more information on rabies and prevention, please contact ADPH at 1-800-338-8374 or (334) 206-5100 or visit https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/rabies.html.