The Carroll County Health Department is advising anyone who might have been bit or scratched by a cat in Mount Airy to contact the department after a feline from the area tested positive for rabies.
In a Monday afternoon news release, the Health Department noted that a cat found near Buffalo Road between Old Vintage Run and Shirley Bohn Road in Mount Airy has tested positive for rabies and that one person who was bitten by the cat is being treated with post-exposure rabies shots.
Left untreated, rabies is always fatal once symptoms begin.
“Rabies exposure occurs through bites and scratches or saliva from the animal getting into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound,” Joe Mancuso, rabies program manager at the Health Department is quoted as having said in the release.
The release noted that no good description of the cat was available, so that anyone who had recently been scratched or bitten by a cat in this rural area of Mount Airy should call the Health Department at 410-876-1884 for a risk assessment.
“We do a thorough risk assessment with every person who was potentially exposed to rabies through interactions with wild or stray animals,” Mancuso is quoted as having said.
The rabies virus can be carried and transmitted by any mammal and is commonly in raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes in Carroll County, according to the release, and the Health Department recommends people people keep their distance from wildlife.
For animals that are acting strangely, seem sick or have entered a home, call animal control at 410-848-4810.
Keeping pets vaccinated can also protect them and their humans from rabies, according to the release; the health department will hold its next rabies vaccination clinic on Sept. 15 at the Carroll County Agriculture Center, in Westminster.