Health officials in two states are warning of possible rabies exposures related to kittens that were ultimately found to be infected with the virus.
The Rabid Kitten In Waterbury and Southbury, Connecticut
The earlier of the two happened in Connecticut. Health officials there originally said that anyone who handled a young kitten near a Walmart in Waterbury should seek medical attention. The first date range given was May 15th through May 29th. But officials with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, or DPH, quickly amended that notice to also include anyone who handled an injured kitten at the Southbury Town Wide Tag Sale on June 3rd.
DPH officials say the kitten died on June 8th; on June 9th it tested positive for rabies. The agency did not speculate on the number of potential victims. Nor did they disclose how many people, if any, had already sought post-exposure immunizations. Anyone needing advice can call the state’s Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program at 860-509-7994.
The Rabid Kitten In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The second possible exposure occurred on or around June 8th in Oklahoma City. Health officials with the state’s Department of Health say that they are looking for anyone who had any contact with an orange and white kitten near the Central Oklahoma Winnelson Company, which is located in the area of N.W. 10th and Purdue Street.
That animal died June 11th and like the Connecticut kitten, ultimately yielded a positive rabies test. The officials’ best guess for an exposure window falls from around May 29th to June 8th. The numbers to call are (405) 271-4060 or (800) 234-5963. (The 800 number is answered around the clock.)
Rabies In The U.S.
Postexposure vaccines are virtually 100% effective at protecting people from contracting rabies, but health experts say it must be given before symptoms begin. The typical regimen includes four “shots” and serious reactions to the vaccines are rare.
Nationwide, around one person dies from rabies each year.