RICHMOND, Va. – A popular stray cat from Bryan Park has tested positive for rabies, according to the Richmond City Health District and the Henrico County Health Department.
The stray cat is an adult female with black fur, white paws and chin. On February 19, Richmond Animal Care and Control took custody of the cat after being bitten by a park visitor while chatting with the "usually friendly feline".
The victim is a Henrico resident and their treatment is supervised by the Henrico County Health Department.
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous symptom. Once symptoms develop in humans, the infection is usually fatal. Exposure is defined as any bite, scratch or other condition in which the saliva or central nervous tissue of a potentially enraged animal enters a new open wound or comes into contact with a mucous membrane upon penetrating the eyes, nose or mouth.
Officials say that it is important to see a doctor soon after a possible exposure.
Health departments say park visitors who may have been exposed to the cat between February 9th and 19th are at risk of contracting rabies and are advised to contact their public health department.
Richmond residents should call the Richmond District Health District at 804-482-8020. Residents of Henrico should call the Henrico County Health Department at 804-501-4656.
Health departments remind residents to take precautions to reduce the risk of rabies transmission from pets or pets.
The Richmond City Health District has implemented the following measures to prevent family members and pets from being exposed to rabies:
- Do not attract wild animals into your garden by leaving pet food or unclogged garbage
- Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies and keep their vaccines up to date
- Do not let your pets roam freely in the neighborhood; keep them on a leash when you walk them
- Report stray animals to your local animal control agency
For more information on rabies and animal bites, click here.