YORKTOWN, Va. (WAVY/AP) — A cat has tested positive for the rabies virus in Yorktown.
According to health officials, the cat was found in the vicinity of George Washington Memorial Highway and Ella Taylor Road in Yorktown. Those who may have had any contact with a cat in that area are asked to contact the Environmental Health office of the Peninsula Health Department at (757) 594-7340.
Officials say exposures also include direct contact between your pet and the rabid animal. After hours, please contact the York County Animal Services at (757) 890-3621.
Rabies is caused by a virus that invades the central nervous system and is usually fatal in animals and humans. It’s most commonly spread through a bite from an infected animal, with most U.S. infections in recent years traced to bat encounters.
Infection can cause insomnia, anxiety, confusion, paralysis, salivating, hallucinations, difficulty swallowing and fear of water.
Death can occur only a couple of weeks after symptoms begin. But it can be prevented through a series of five shots given within two weeks of exposure.
An estimated 60,000 Americans are treated each year after possible exposure to rabies, the CDC says.
VDH also released the following four rabies prevention guidelines:
- Vaccinate your pets.
- Report all exposures to animals (usually bites and scratches) to your doctor and the local health department.
- Enjoy wildlife from a distance – don’t feed or encourage wild animals such as raccoons, skunks or foxes to visit your premises.
- Do not feed your pets outside, leave trash uncovered, or do anything that may attract wild animals to your property.