Friday, March 20, 2009

Rabies confirmed in cat in Rockingham County

The state Laboratory of Public Health has confirmed a stray cat that bit a child in Rockingham County on March 6 has tested positive for rabies.

“I’ve been here more than 20 years, and we’ve never had a cat test positive for rabies. It’s very unusual that you have a domestic animal to test positive,” said Ted Nelson, environmental health director for Rockingham County. He said two dogs were confirmed positive for the rabies virus in separate cases two years ago.

A feral cat came out of the woods and attacked and bit a child on the left leg outside a home off Manley Farm Road in Reidsville. The child started a series of rabies prophylaxis shots Wednesday.

“The child is doing fine. We got to it quickly, so we don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” said Nelson. “If the parents hadn’t realized, it could’ve been a problem.”

The rabies virus affects the central nervous system, and untreated cases ultimately lead to death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The treatment of rabies is made up of a series of shots over a one-month period, said Nelson.

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