August 5, 2008

Health Department Catches Rabid Bethel Park Cat

The Allegheny County Health Department is looking for people who may have come in contact with a rabid stray cat.

The department said today that a long-haired black cat with white chest hair found near Gardenville Road in Bethel Park last week has tested positive for rabies. It bit at least one person and has since been euthanized.

"We're encouraging anyone else who may have been bitten or scratched by this stray cat to come forward, so they can be evaluated and treated without delay," Dr. Bruce Dixon, director of the Health Department, said in a news release.

People who may have had contact with the cat should call the Health Department at 412-687-ACHD.

The person bit by the cat is being treated and has not developed rabies. The disease is almost always fatal if not treated.

Health Department staff distributed oral rabies vaccine in brush and ditches throughout the county last week. The vaccine is meant for raccoons, the predominant carrier of rabies in the county. They tend to spread the disease to other animals which then infect humans.

Originally published by The Tribune-Review.

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