October 24, 2019
Media Contact: Risk Communications Manager Lorrie Andrew-Spear – Lorrie.Andrew-Spear@vdh.virginia.gov
City of Manassas Park, VA
In order to protect the health of residents and visitors, the Prince William Health District (PWHD) is issuing a notice about a cat that has been found with rabies in the City of Manassas Park.
A cat that was found on October 17 in the area of Martin Drive in the City of Manassas Park has tested positive for rabies. Reportedly, the cat scratched and/or bit an area resident. PWHD asks anyone who may have come in contact with a cat in or around Martin Drive between October 7 and 17 to call the health district at 703-792-6300. The cat was described to have long fur that was white with dark brown and black markings. In addition, the animal was noted to have an injured hind leg.
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.
PWHD reminds everyone to avoid contact with feral cats, bats, stray dogs and wild animals, particularly in the area where the sick cat was found.
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. Make sure trash cans have tight fitting lids.
- If you observe any stray animals in the area, contact the Manassas Park Animal Control Division for assistance at 703-361-1136. 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 Prince William Health District for further recommendations.
For additional information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/animal-contact-human-health/?tab=3 or call the Prince William Health District at 703-792-6300. Follow the Health District on Twitter @PrinceWilliamHD and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PrinceWilliamHealthDistrict.