SOUTHAMPTON Co., Va. – The Southampton County Health Department received information last Friday that a stray cat tested positive for rabies.
In this case, a stray cat scratched a person. The person has been advised to seek medical advice regarding post-exposure vaccination for rabies. This incident occurred in the town of Capron.
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. An animal exposure can be a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation and complete treatment is critical. 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% of cases. The disease is also fatal in infected domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated
Dr. Nancy Welch, MD, health director for the Western Tidewater Health District, strongly emphasizes the following recommendations for Southampton residents to take in protecting their families and their pets from rabies:
- If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact Southampton County Animal Control at (757) 653-2100 or the Southampton County Health Department at (757) 653-3036.
- 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. Please consult your veterinarian, Southampton County Animal Control, or the Southampton County Health Department if you have any questions about pet vaccinations.
- Confine your pets to your property.
- Securely seal garbage containers with lids.
State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated against rabies. For more information on rabies, contact the Southampton County Health Department at (757) 653-3036, Southampton County Animal Control at (757) 653-2100, or visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.