Person being treated after bite from rabid cat in Prattville
PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - A person is undergoing treatment after being bitten by a rabid cat in Prattville, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
ADPH said the victim, whom it did not identify, is undergoing “prompt medical treatment” to prevent a human rabies infection. The health department is also investigating the possibility of other human exposures.
The stray cat was captured in a mobile home park located in the Langford Court area of County Road 4 and has since been sent to the Prattville/Autauga County Humane Society for testing.
The cat will also undergo further confirmatory testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ADPH confirmed. The data will then be shared with the U.S. of Agriculture and state wildlife agencies for future rabies management decisions.
Raccoons are the primary carriers for the rabies virus in Alabama, according to ADPH. Stray animals are at most risk because they are usually unvaccinated and more likely to encounter raccoons and other wild animals.
“The incidence of human exposure to rabies has dramatically declined over the last half-century largely because of the vaccination of domestic animals against rabies,” said Dr. Dee W. Jones, state public health veterinarian. But Jones added it’s a challenge to get people to keep their animals’ vaccinations current.
Rabies vaccination is required in Alabama and is considered the best protection for pets and their owners. ADPH is coordinating with the county to provide additional opportunities in the community to hold vaccine clinics aimed at raising vaccination rates in animals that may not have current veterinary care.
In addition to vaccination, area residents are advised to take the following precautions to avoid possible exposure to rabies:
- Do not allow pets to run loose; confine them within a fenced-in area or with a leash.
- Do not leave uneaten pet food or scraps near your residence.
- Do not illegally feed or keep wildlife as pets.
- Do not go near wildlife or domestic animals that are acting in a strange or unusual manner.
- Caution children not to go near any stray or wild animal, regardless of its behavior.
- Advise children to tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by any animal.
A person who is bitten or scratched by an animal should wash wounds immediately with mild soap and water, apply first aid, and seek medical attention or contact the county health department immediately.
For more information about rabies and prevention, please contact ADPH (334) 206-5969 or (334) 206-5100 or visit https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/rabies.html
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