Rabid cat attacks someone in Edinburg

Published: Jun. 28, 2019 at 5:58 PM EDT
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Health officials have confirmed that a stray cat that got into a fight with someone in Edinburg tested positive for rabies.

According to a statement from the Lord Fairfax Health District, a stray black cat was found to be in a fight with a person on Massanutten Drive in Edinburg on Thursday, June 27.

The cat was captured, euthanized, and sent off to the health department for rabies testing. That test came back positive.

The district says anyone in the community who may have received a bite or scratch, or been otherwise exposed to the saliva of, a black cat in that area of Edinburg should seek care at an emergency department immediately.

Anyone who may have had a pet come in contact with a black cat in that area around that time should also seek care for their pet immediately too.

Rabies transmission requires contact between a rabid animal's saliva or central nervous system tissue with a fresh wound or a mucous membrane like the eye, mouth, or nose.

One rabies symptoms begin, the disease is 100% fatal, but it can be easily prevented if treatment begins immediately after exposure.

Everyone is encouraged to vaccinate their pets to protect them, family members, loved ones and the community at large from rabies. In fact, not only is it encouraged, it's required by Virginia law.

In addition to keeping pets vaccinated and keeping vaccinations current, the Lord Fairfax Health District says to take these steps to protect family members and pets from rabies:

• Avoid contact with wild animals, especially any raccoon, fox, skunk, or bat, particularly if it is behaving oddly or if it is seen in the daylight. These animals are the main carriers of rabies in the eastern United States.

• Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs. Feral or unknown cats and dogs may also carry rabies. Report bites or scratches from these animals to your physician or the Health Department.

• Report stray animals to your local animal control agency

• If the attack is from a cat, dog, or ferret, try to identify or capture it if possible. Rabies can be ruled out if these animals are observed to remain healthy for ten days.

• Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home

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

• If you are bitten, scratched, or licked by any of these animals, seek medical attention immediately. Rabies is fatal to both animals and humans once symptoms begin, but it can be prevented in humans if they receive vaccine and medication soon after exposure.

• If one of your domestic animals is bitten or otherwise interacts with a wild animal, notify the local health department and animal control officer at once, and have the animal seen by a veterinarian.

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

or call the Shenandoah County Health Department at 540-459-3733.