The Allegheny County Health Department reports that a black- and gray-striped stray cat with a white face, belly and paws from the Union Avenue Ext. area of Oakdale has tested positive for rabies. Anyone who may have been bitten by the cat between January 9 and 19 in or near the 200 block of Union Avenue Ext. is asked to come forward and call the Health Department at 412-687-ACHD (2243).
The cat tested positive for rabies after drooling saliva on a woman while she was feeding it and potentially exposing her to the rabies virus. It was subsequently taken to a veterinarian’s office and euthanized.
The woman is being treated with anti-rabies vaccine as a precaution and not expected to develop rabies.
We’re encouraging anyone else who may have been bitten or scratched by this cat to come forward, so they can be evaluated and treated if necessary,” said Acting Health Director Dr. Ron Voorhees.
Rabies exposures typically occur through a break in the skin that comes in contact with an infected animal’s saliva. The disease is almost always fatal when left untreated.
Health officials warn people to avoid contact with all stray dogs and cats, even when they appear healthy. It’s possible they might have had contact with wild animals, especially raccoons, and may have become infected with the rabies virus but not yet have any outward signs or symptoms of the disease.
The cat is the first rabid animal reported in the County this year. Seventeen rabid animals, not counting road kill, were reported last year – eight raccoons, seven bats, one skunk and one cat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
In people, symptoms of rabies include fever, headache and fatigue, then confusion, hallucinations and paralysis. Once the symptoms begin, the disease is usually fatal. A series of shots can prevent rabies in people exposed to the virus. You need to get them right away. If an animal bites you, wash the wound well; then get medical care.
To help prevent rabies
- Vaccinate your pet. Rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats and farm animals
- Don’t let pets roam
- Don’t approach stray animals. Animals with rabies might be aggressive and vicious, or tired and weak
Again, call the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD (2243) if you know anything about this cat or of yourself or anyone that might have come in contact with it.
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