Cat tests positive for rabies

Published 10:21 pm Thursday, September 8, 2016

A stray cat that fought with a dog in the Cherokee Drive area recently has tested positive for rabies, according to the Suffolk Health Department.

The dog was vaccinated, so it will be subject only to a 45-day observation period as a precaution.

Milners Road turns into Cherokee Drive east of Girl Scout Drive.

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This is the third positive rabies test in Suffolk this year. The first, in January, was a stray cat that scratched and bit a resident along White Marsh Road. The victim was treated. The second, in May, was a raccoon that fought with a dog in the Nansemond Gardens area.

“An animal exposure is a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation and complete treatment is critical,” Dr. Christopher Wilson, health director for the Western Tidewater Health District, stated in the release.

“Rabies is highly preventable if vaccine is given early and as recommended. Unfortunately, without preventive treatment, by the time someone develops symptoms of rabies, there is no cure and the disease is fatal in almost 100 percent of cases.”

Wilson offered the following recommendations for people to take to protect their pets and families from rabies:

  • Seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite to ensure appropriate and timely evaluation and treatment. All animal exposures must be taken seriously.
  • Do not approach wild or stray animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, cats and dogs.
  • Ensure all pet dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations. State law requires all dogs and cats more than 4 months old to be vaccinated.
  • Confine your pets to your property.
  • Securely seal garbage containers with lids.
  • 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.