Kitten tests positive for rabies

Published 11:29 pm Friday, June 24, 2011

A stray kitten in Suffolk has tested positive for rabies, the Suffolk Health Department announced on Friday.

The kitten marks the seventh positive rabies test this year in Suffolk, compared to three positive tests in all of last year.

According to the Suffolk Health Department, a citizen in the Sleepy Hole Road area was caring for the kitten and realized it was ill. The kitten was taken to a veterinarian, where it was examined and later died.

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Several people who were caring for the cat are receiving post-exposure vaccinations because it scratched them, the rabies alert said.

Exposure of humans to rabies occurs when the saliva of an infected animal enters the body through an open wound or mucous membrane, such as with an animal bite.

Without preventive treatment, by the time a human develops symptoms of rabies, there is no cure and the disease is fatal in almost every case.

The disease is also fatal in domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.

The health department recommends the following steps for Suffolk residents to take in protecting themselves and their pets from rabies:

  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact the Suffolk Animal Control at 514-7855 or the Suffolk Health Department at 514-4751.
  • Seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite.
  • Do not approach wild or stray animals, especially bats, foxes, raccoons, skunks, opossums, cats and dogs.
  • Ensure all pet dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations. State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Confine your pets to your property.
  • Securely seal garbage containers with lids.