Rabid cat attacks Petersburg woman

Posted at 5:54 PM, Apr 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-13 19:04:17-04

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) – Health Department officials are warning residents in a Petersburg neighborhood after a rabid cat attacked a woman this week.

The Petersburg City Health Department said the feral cat was captured Wednesday in the 2000 block of Mars Street in the Bunker Hill community. The cat tested positive for rabies.

Officials said the woman the cat attacked is being treated for rabies and is doing well. However, the rabid cat has died.

As a result, Health Department workers went door to door Friday in the neighborhood handing out flyers.

The Health Department is concerned that other feral or domestic cats exposed to that rabid cat may have also caught the disease.

As a result, officials warned any area residents exposed to feral animals -- or who have pets that may have been exposed to the rabid cat -- to call the Health Department at 804-863-1652 or the Petersburg City Animal Control Office at 804-732-4222. If folks need to get in touch over the weekend, call 804-840-7275.

The Health District asked folks to take the following steps in an effort to prevent people and pets from being exposed to rabies:

  • Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies and keep them up to date.
  • Avoid contact with wild animals or stray cats and dogs.
  • 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.
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.
Rabies is a fatal disease, which can be prevented with vaccination. However, once symptoms begin, it cannot be cured said the Petersburg Health Department's Tim Jones.

Click here for more info on rabies from the Virginia Department of Health’s Rabies Control and Prevention website.

Officials handed out this rabies warning flyer Friday in Petersburg.

Officials handed out this rabies warning flyer Friday in Petersburg.