Prattville woman receives rabies treatments after being scratched by stray cat

Does the animal have rabies?

Does the animal have rabies? Here are signs and symptoms to look out for.

Week

PRATTVILLE – A Prattville woman has had rabies treatments after being scratched by a stray cat.

The cat was tested and came back positive for southeastern raccoon rabies, said Dr. Dee Jones, state veterinarian for the Alabama Department of Public Health. The incident took place on Durden Road when the stray cat got into an argument with the woman’s cat. She got the scratch when she finished the fight.

“There aren’t many reports of rabies from Autauga County,” said Jones. “And usually raccoons are vectors, not domesticated animals. But this cat was a stray, probably not vaccinated against rabies, and came into contact with a rabid raccoon.”

People hear “rabies” and often overreact, he said.

“Rabies is spread through the saliva of the infected animal,” said Jones. “I am not aware of any human case in which rabies has been transmitted through a scratch from an infected animal. But out of caution, we advise people who have been scratched by a rabid animal to undergo treatment.”

Once rabies develops in a person’s body, it’s 99% fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic website. When taken on time, a series of vaccinations are nearly 100% effective in preventing the development of rabies.

In the past, 14 injections were given in the abdomen over a 30 day period. Now the practice calls for injections over a period of two weeks and they do not have to be given in the stomach.

The best way to prevent contact with rabies is to vaccinate your dogs and cats, Jones said. The state law prescribes annual vaccinations for dogs, cats and pet ferrets.

More: As the pandemic subsides, once beloved pets are being disposed of in “discouraging” numbers at the shelter

Precautions to be taken to avoid exposure to rabies

  • Do not let pets roam free; keep them in a fenced area or on a leash.
  • Do not leave uneaten animal feed or 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 go near stray or wild animals, regardless of their behavior.
  • Instruct 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.

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Marty Roney at mroney@gannett.com.