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Rabid cat found in Jefferson County

November 19, 1996

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A stray cat that a Mordington Avenue resident had been feeding for several years has tested positive for rabies, a Jefferson County Health Department official said.

The person who was feeding the cat began noticing abnormal behavior in the animal last week, said Earl Allara, director of the Jefferson County Health Department.

The cat was taken to a local veterinary clinic where it died, Allara said. A tissue sample from the animal was sent to the West Virginia Hygienic Laboratory, where it was analyzed and determined that the cat was in the advanced stage of the disease, Allara said.

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It was the second confirmed rabies case this year. The other case was a ground hog that tested positive for rabies in July.

It was not clear where the ground hog was found.

Allara is warning people to never touch a stray animal. Anyone who is scratched or bitten by any animal should clean and flush the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical help.

If the animal cannot be found, bite victims may have to undergo a series of expensive shots, according to Allara.

Rabies is a disease of the central nervous system that can be transmitted through the saliva of infected animals. It is usually transmitted through a bite, but also can be passed on if the animal licks a person's mouth, eyes or open wounds, Allara said.

Rabies is almost always fatal to the infected animal and also can be deadly to humans who do not receive prompt medical attention, Allara said.

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