PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Portsmouth Health Department said that a cat that attacked people in and around the area of Dunkirk and Eric Streets and Tyre Neck Road tested positive for rabies.
According to the health department, the Portsmouth Bureau of Animal Control responded to a residence where the callers said a black cat had attacked several people. This occurred near the 5800 blocks of Dunkirk and Eric Streets and the 3600 block of Tyre Neck Road.
The cat was captured, and on December 28, the health department learned that the cat carried the rabies virus.
Neighbors are concerned more stray animals or wild animals may be caring the disease and warn parents to keep an eye on children playing outside.
The health department recommends that Portsmouth residents and visitors take the following precautions to prevent exposure to rabies:
- Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home. Do not feed stray dogs or cats, or any wild animal. Garbage containers should be securely sealed with lids. After feeding pets, bring leftover food inside or dispose of it properly. Bird food should be placed in a bird feeder inaccessible to wild animals, and food stored in outbuilding like barns or open garages should be inaccessible to animals.
- Avoid contact between yourself (or your pets) and wild or stray animals. Report any stray animals to the Portsmouth Bureau of Animal Control at 393-8430, and avoid contact with the animal. If contact occurs, call the Portsmouth Department of Public Health at 393-8585, extension 8585. Keep dogs and cats confined to your property, as animals that are allowed to roam are more prone to come into contact with wild animals.
- Vaccinate all pets against rabies. It's Portsmouth law.