A kitten found on the night of Oct. 29 has tested positive for rabies, and Carroll County health officials are asking anyone who might have had contact with the animal to reach out for a risk assessment.
The Carroll County Health Department described the kitten as a “gray, short-haired tiger cat” Tuesday afternoon and noted the animal was found “very ill and lethargic" on Bachman Valley Road near Eckard Road, near Manchester, on Oct. 29 and later died. It was taken to the Humane Society of Carroll County the following morning.
The animal did not bite the person who found it, but that person was exposed to its saliva, according to the health department — and so will receive rabies post-exposure treatment — and several people at the humane society will undergo a risk assessment as well.
The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, and so can be passed on through bites and scratches, but also if that saliva gets into a person or other mammal’s eyes, nose or mouth. The virus is fatal to all mammals once symptoms set in.
Rabies vaccinations, however, offer excellent protection, and due to the rabies virus’s long incubation period, post exposure treatments are also effective.
The health department is asking anyone who may have had contact with the kitten in questions to call 410-876-1884 for a risk assessment to determine if they need post-exposure treatment, according to the release.
Local health officials also encourage all pet owners to keep their pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations. The health department will offer its next low-cost rabies vaccination clinic on April 5.
Do not approach, handle, or feed wild or stray animals.
Have your dogs, cats, and ferrets vaccinated against rabies and keep their vaccinations up to date. The health department’s next low-cost rabies vaccination clinic will be 2 p.m.-4 p.m. April 5, 2020, at the Carroll County Agriculture Center, 706 Agricultural Center Drive, Westminster.
Do not leave pets outside unattended or allow them to roam free.
Cover garbage cans tightly and do not leave pet food outside.
Teach children to stay away from wild animals and any animals that they do not know.
Prevent bats from entering your home by using window screens and chimney caps. Bats found in the home should be safely collected, if possible, and tested for rabies.
If you encounter a wild or stray animal that is sick, injured, or acting strangely, call animal control at 410-848-4810. If you must move the animal, use gloves or an implement — do not handle any strange animal directly.
If you or your pet have been bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal, wash the area with soap and water for several minutes. Keep your pet away from other people and pets. Then call your physician or veterinarian and contact the health department at 410-876-1884.