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Found Rabid Cat One of 10 This Year in Prince William

By Potomac Local December 30, 2013 2:00 pm

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A cat found in Woodbridge tested positive for rabies.

The animal was found in the Powell’s Landing Circle area in the Port Potomac neighborhood off U.S. 1.

Rabies can kill almost any mammal or human who comes in contact with it.

A cat found December 20, near Powells Landing Circle in Woodbridge, has tested positive for rabies. The young adult cat had gray fur and appeared to have an injured leg. Prince William Health District asks anyone who may have come in contact with a cat acting strangely to contact the Health District at 703-792-5363, or the Prince William Animal Control Division, at 703-792-6500.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Rabies can be prevented in cats, dogs, ferrets and some livestock with a rabies vaccination. Rabies kills almost any mammal or human that gets sick from it. The rabies virus is mainly in the saliva and brain tissue of rabid animals. It can be transmitted through a bite or by getting saliva or brain tissue in a wound or in the eye or mouth.

To protect pets and their owners from rabies, Virginia law requires that all dogs and cats four months of age and older be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian, and that vaccinations be kept current.

This year to date, 10 animal rabies cases have been confirmed in Prince William Health District.

The Prince William Health District is reminding the public to avoid contact with bats, feral cats, stray dogs and wild animals, particularly in the area where the sick cat was found. People can also take the following steps to protect against rabies exposure:

• Do not feed stray animals. Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks. Feed your pets indoors and do not let them wander.

• Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies and their shots are up-to-date. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.

• Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.

• Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals.

• Keep wild animals out of homes by capping chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, cellars and porches. Ensure trash cans have tight fitting lids.

• If you observe any stray animals in the area, please contact the Prince William County Animal Control Division for assistance at 703-792-6500. Please do not try to trap or handle stray and wild animals.

• If a bat is found indoors and may have had contact with someone, do not release it. Please call the Prince William County Animal Control Division at 703-792-6500, to determine if the animal should be picked up and tested for rabies.

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