07/08/14 — Woman bitten by rabid stray cat

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Woman bitten by rabid stray cat

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 8, 2014 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- A Princeton area woman is undergoing treatment for rabies after she was bitten last week by a feral cat that has since tested positive for the disease.

A young boy and his grandfather were scratched by the same cat, said Vickie Falconer, Wayne County Animal Control director. Mrs. Falconer said she would do a follow-up with the boy and his grandfather about taking a rabies risk assessment.

It is the first confirmed case of rabies in either a dog or cat this year, she said.

Anyone who might have been in contact with a stray solid black cat since June 14 within a one-mile radius of the 300 block of Clayton Road is asked to call the Wayne County Health Department Communicable Disease Department at 919-731-1000 to have a rabies risk assessment completed.

The woman was bitten on June 29. She went to a doctor and received a tetanus shot and antibiotics and is undergoing the rabies treatment, Mrs. Falconer said.

The cat ran away after biting the woman and did not return for several days, Mrs. Falconer said.

When it did return, the cat "did not act right" and laid in the yard. The animal was dead when Mrs. Falconer's staff arrived.

Mrs. Falconer said it is possible that the family euthanized the cat because it was suffering.

The animal was sent to the state for testing. Since it involved a stray cat, the testing was a priority, she said.

Mrs. Falconer is using the incident to help educate the public about the risk of the disease particularly in cats and dogs.

"I decided (Monday) to run a rabies clinic (at the animal shelter) from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday," she said.

Only one-year shots will be offered at a cost of $10 per animal. The Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center is located at 1600 Clingman St.

People are used to hearing about rabies in wildlife, particularly in bats and raccoons, Mrs. Falconer said. But when it comes to either family pets or feral cats and dogs, it takes on more importance, she said.

She is cautioning residents to stay away from raccoons, skunks, bats, stray dogs and cats and other wild animals that can carry rabies.

State law requires that pets that do not have a current rabies vaccination and are exposed to rabies either be euthanized or placed under a strict, six-month quarantine.

Every dog and cat over the age of four months must have a current rabies vaccination. Residents with a pet that is not up to date on their rabies vaccination need to contact their veterinarian or Animal Control immediately, Mrs. Falconer said.

For more information contact Wayne County Animal Control at 919-731-1439.