Rabid cat found in county; residents reminded to vaccinate cats, dogs, ferrets

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2014

County health officials are reminding residents that they must vaccinate dogs, cats and ferrets after a rabid cat in the county was found.

David Legett, Area 9 immunization program manager sent out a press release recently to remind locals that state law requires this action.

“Pets can be a common connection between wildlife and humans,” he said. “Vaccination of pets not only protects these animals against rabies, but also creates an additional protective buffer between wildlife rabies and humans.”

Legett ssaid the rabid cat prompted public officials to issue precautions on how people can protect themselves from rabies.

“The rabies virus can infect all mammals, including man, and is always considered to be fatal unless preventive treatment is given following the bite,” he said. “Virus transmission generally occurs through saliva from an infected animals. The primary means of exposure is from a bite or scratch, but exposure is also possible if infected saliva contacts the mucous membranes of the eye or mouth.”

State health officials encourage residents who receive a bite or scratch to was the wound thoroughly under running water, immediately seek medical attention and report the incident to the county health department.

Here are some times to help avoid exposure to the rabies virus:

• Avoid domestic and wild animals that are acting in an unusual manner;

• Teach children to stay away from animals that are hurt or unknown to them;

• Instruct children to avoid approaching any wild animal; and

• Advise children to tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by any animal.

For more information, call 222-1175.