Halifax County cat tests positive for rabies

Virginia Department of Health
Virginia Department of Health(WVIR)
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 12:55 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ/Southside Health District Release) - The Southside Health District has issued a notice about a cat testing positive for rabies.

May 25, the cat was found at a home in the vicinity of Route 603 and U.S. Highway 501 in Nathalie. The Southside Health District asks anyone who may have come into contact with a feral cat in or around the area to call the health district at 434-738-6029.

A colony of cats has been reported at the recycling center at that intersection, according to the health district, which says the cats are being monitored by animal control. “If you have a pet cat and live in the area, please keep your cat home and be aware of its whereabouts. Please avoid interaction with wild or feral animals since they can carry rabies or other harmful diseases.”

The health district says, “Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Rabies can be prevented in cats, dogs, ferrets and some livestock with a rabies vaccination. Rabies kills almost any mammal or human that gets sick from it. The rabies virus is mainly in the saliva and brain tissue of rabid animals. It can be transmitted through a bite or by getting saliva or brain tissue in a wound or in the eye or mouth.”

To protect pets and their owners from rabies, Virginia law requires that all dogs and cats four months of age and older be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian, and that vaccinations be kept current.

The Southside Health District is reminding the public to avoid contact with bats, feral cats, stray dogs and wild animals, particularly in the area where the rabid cat was found. See additional precautions below.

Additional Steps to Protect Against Rabies Exposure:

  • Do not feed stray animals. Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks. Feed your pets indoors and do not let them wander.
  • Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies and their shots are up to date. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.
  • Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals.
  • Keep wild animals out of homes by capping chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, cellars and porches. Ensure trash cans have tight fitting lids.
  • If you observe any stray animals in the area, contact Halifax County Animal Control at 434-572-4292. Please do not try to trap or handle stray and wild animals.
  • If you are bitten by a wild or stray animal, do not panic. Wash the wound(s) thoroughly with warm soapy water and contact animal control, your doctor or the Southside Health District for further recommendations.

For additional information, visit vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/animal-contact-human-health/ or call the Southside Health District at 434-738-6029.