Platteville Cat Confirmed to Have Rabies
A cat in Platteville tested positive for rabies after biting a man working on a backyard fence. Health officials are concerned about the location of the rabid cat— next to Platteville Elementary School.
“People need to remember to not touch or pet wild animals and to stay away from any animal that appears sick” says Trevor Jiricek, Environmental Health Division Director at the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment.
An off-duty police officer helped identify and shoot the rabid cat. The man was bit on September 26th and lab testing on the dead cat confirmed rabies on October 1st.
The health department is posting rabies advisory signs in the area, including warning the school.
Other feral cats, domestic horses, and cattle are also in the area. Any mammal, including humans, is at risk for contracting rabies.
“The risk of human exposure to rabies increases when pets and domestic animals are not properly vaccinated” says Dr. Mark Wallace, Executive Director of the Health Department.
Rabies can infect many wild animals, including foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and bats. Health official’s stress that all domestic animals such as cats, dogs, horses and livestock should be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
Signs of rabies include increases in saliva and drooling, nocturnal animals seen out during the daytime, and slow or difficult movement. Other signs may be aggressive behavior, such as a cat attacking and biting a man. Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Rabies causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and is nearly always fatal. It is transmitted in saliva through the bite of an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted in saliva to an open cut, scratch or wound. If a person suspects they have been exposed to rabies, they should contact their medical provider immediately. Effective vaccination treatment is available to prevent rabies if started before symptoms appear.
To prevent exposure to rabies:
· Do not feed, touch or handle wild animals and be cautious of stray dogs and cats
· Have dogs, cats, horses, and livestock vaccinated regularly by a licensed veterinarian
· Spay or neuter pets to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals in the neighborhood