Cat tests positive for rabies in Winchester neighborhood

Published: Apr. 25, 2019 at 12:22 PM EDT
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Health officials have confirmed that a feral cat found in a WInchester neighborhood tested positive for rabies.

According to a press release from the Lord Fairfax Health District, a mid-sized black and white cat was found on Ladderback Court in Winchester on Friday, April 19, after interacting with at least one person.

Animal Control captured the cat and put it down in order to test for rabies, which came back positive.

The health district wants to alert anyone in the community who may have encountered the cat in that area of Winchester to report to the nearest emergency department if they were bitten, scratched, or licked by a similar cat any time since Tuesday, April 9.

Rabies is 100% fatal once symptoms begin, but can be prevented with treatment if caught immediately after exposure.

Everyone is reminded to vaccinate their pets to protect them from rabies. It's not just safe – it's the law in Virginia.

In addition to vaccinating pets and keeping those vaccinations current, the Lord Fairfax Health District recommends these steps to protect family members and pets from rabies:

• Do not approach, handle, or feed feral cats, due to the rabies risk;

• Avoid contact with wild animals, such as raccoons and skunks;

• Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs;

• Report stray animals to your local animal control agency;

• Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home; and

• Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.

For more information, or if you have questions about a possible exposure, visit