RICHMOND, Va. – A popular stray cat in Bryan Park has tested positive for rabies, according to the Richmond City Health District and Henrico County Health Department.
The stray cat is an adult female with black fur with white paws and chin. Richmond Animal Care and Control took custody of the cat on February 19 after a park visitor was bitten while interacting with the “usually friendly feline.”
The victim is a Henrico resident and their treatment is being supervised by the Henrico County Health Department.
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous symptom. Once symptoms in humans develop, the infection is usually fatal. Exposure is defined as any bite, scratch or other situation where saliva or central nervous tissue of a potentially rabid animal enters an open, fresh wound or comes into contact with a mucus membrane by entering the eye, nose or mouth.
Officials say it is important to seek medical attention promptly after a possible exposure.
The health departments say park visitors who may have been exposed to the cat between the dates of February 9 to 19 are at possible risk for rabies and are advised to contact their public health department.
Richmond residents should call the Richmond City Health District at 804-482-8020. Henrico residents should call the Henrico County Health Department at 804-501-4656.
The health departments are reminding residents to take precautions to reduce the risk of people or pets contracting rabies from domestic and woodland animals.
The Richmond City Health District provided these steps to prevent family members and pets from being exposed to rabies:
- Don’t attract wild animals into your yard by leaving out pet food or uncontained garbage
- Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies and keep their shots up to date
- Don’t allow your pets to roam freely through the neighborhood; keep them on a leash when walking them
- Report stray animals to your local animal control agency
For more information about rabies and animal bites, click here.