Stray cat with rabies bites individual in Fredericksburg

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Health officials have determined the presence of rabies on the 100 block of Longstreet Ave. confirmed in the city of Fredericksburg.

A stray cat that had bitten a human was confirmed positive for rabies on April 2. The cat was born on March 31st at 100 Block of Longstreet Ave. picked up. The bitten person receives the rabies prevention vaccinations. The rabid cat is believed to be part of a wildcat colony living in the area. It is possible that other cats in the colony may be exposed and infected with rabies.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It is preventable in animals through vaccination, but fatal to both animals and humans if left untreated. Exposure to rabies is considered a bite, scratch, or other circumstance whenever saliva or central nervous system tissue of a rabid or possibly rabid animal enters an open, fresh wound or comes into contact by entering the eye, mouth, or the lining of the nose.

The Code of Virginia mandates that dog and cat owners maintain current rabies vaccinations for animals four months and older. In addition, citizens should not approach or touch any wildlife or unfamiliar pets, and should not report any abnormal behavior from these animals. All exposures to animal bites and rabies (from wild animals and pets) must be reported to the Fredericksburg Health Dept. Ph. # 540-899-4142.

To prevent the spread of rabies, everyone should:
· Avoid contact with wildlife and pets that you do not know.
· REPORT animals that appear unusual.
VOCULATE all of your dogs, cats and ferrets and keep their vaccinations up to date.
· CALL your doctor and local health department if exposed, or your veterinarian and local animal control office if your pet is exposed.

Rabies vaccinations (Code of VA 3.2-6521) are required for pets (dogs and cats) to protect people from rabies. A properly vaccinated pet population interrupts the transmission cycle of a wild animal infecting a pet (pet) and a pet (pet) infecting the pet owner.

While the intentions are good, pet owners shouldn’t hand out food to stray or wild (feral pets). This brings domestic and wild animals into close contact, where transmission of the rabies virus may be more likely. If you have pets that live outside, feed and water them in ways that are not attractive to wild animals.

For more information, contact: Fredericksburg Health Department, Environmental Health Department, (540) 899-4142