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Rabid cat confirmed in Ayden

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By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Monday, November 20, 2017

Pitt County's health director is urging anyone who may have been exposed to a rabid cat at an Ayden apartment complex earlier this month to seek evaluation from a medical provider.

Pitt County Animal Services was notified at noon Monday that the cat, described as a stray, short-haired, gray cat, was rabid, said Michele Whaley, animal services director.

The cat had been living in the area of Fairmont Village, located on Old N.C. 11 near Juanita Avenue. Residents reported the cat had been acting aggressively, including charging some people.

It was reported that on Nov. 6 the cat bit one person and scratched another, Whaley said. Additional details were unavailable Monday. The people sought medical treatment and received preventive treatment, she said.

The Ayden Police Department set out traps for the animal. The dead animal was brought to animal services on Friday, Whaley said. A speciman was prepared and it was sent to the state Communicable Disease Branch for testing.

Pitt County Health Director Dr. John H. Morrow said others who may have been exposed to the cat through direct contact should visit a health care provider or go to the hospital’s emergency department for evaluation and possible treatment.

For questions on what qualifies as direct contact, contact the health department's communicable diseases nurse at 252-902-2340.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals, often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Rabies infects the central nervous system causing disease in the brain and death.

People should not to approach wild animals and keep their pets away from them. This includes dead animals because the rabies virus also can be transmitted after death through contact with the animal’s saliva and brain tissue.

The State Laboratory of Public Health reports 251 cases of animal rabies were confirmed in North Carolina in 2016 and 10 of those cases were in cats. The majority of these cases were among raccoons.

For more information about rabies in North Carolina, visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services / NC Public Health Epidemiology website at: http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/rabies.html.

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