Kitten found in Williamsport tests positive for rabies

August 28, 2013

A kitten found in the Greenwich Drive area of the Sterling Oaks Development in Williamsport has tested positive for rabies.

The Washington County Health Department has received confirmation from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Laboratories Administration that the kitten, submitted for testing on Aug. 24, had rabies.

Washington County Health Department personnel are investigating all known people who had contact with this kitten, the health department said in a news release.

The kitten is described as all black with no stripes or other distinguishing markings. Based on the size of the kitten, it was considered to be approximately 6 to 7 months old, the health department said.

The health department asks that any residents of or visitors to the area who had contact with that kitten, or with any other stray or feral cats in that area from Aug. 10 through Aug. 24,  contact the Washington County Health Department’s Communicable Disease Program at 240-313-3210 and/or Meritus Medical Center’s Emergency Department to determine if treatment is necessary.

Rabies is a disease that is transmitted through the saliva of the infected animal through a bite or scratch. The disease is nearly always fatal to humans without proper treatment, which should be begun as soon as possible after exposure, according to the health department.

Symptoms of rabies in animals may include a marked change in behavior, failure to eat or drink, excess salivation, and hind quarter paralysis.

The health department advises residents not to touch or pet stray or unfamiliar animals and to avoid sick animals and any animals that are acting in an unusual manner.

The agency advises anyone who is bitten, scratched or has contact with an animal that might be rabid to immediately wash the wound and seek medical attention.

It is important to vaccinate pets against rabies, according to the health department.

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