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July 7, 2011

For More Information Contact

  • Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, 540-381-7100, ext. 151


(MARTINSVILLE, Va.) – An adult cat in the vicinity of Spruce Pine Ln., near the intersection of Route 57 West and Bowens Creek Rd. in Henry County, has been confirmed to be rabid. The cat - described as gray with some small areas of tan and white, and limping in its hindquarters - reportedly bit three people. The cat was found dead on Sunday, July 3, 2011 and was sent for rabies testing on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Lab results received today confirmed the presence of rabies.

Staff members from the Henry County Health Department are going door to door in the area of Spruce Pine Ln. today advising residents of this incident, and asking about the possibility of additional exposures. 

The Henry County Health Department and the Henry County Animal Control ask that anyone who knows of any suspected contact between this cat and any person or domestic animal between the dates of Wednesday, June 22, 2011 through Sunday, July 3, 2011, to contact them immediately. Call the Henry County Health Department at 276-638-2311 or Henry County Animal Control at 276-638-8751. 

This is the third confirmed rabid animal in Henry County so far this year. Most recently, a fox tested positive on June 27, 2011. The other was a raccoon. In 2010, six animals were confirmed positive for rabies in Henry County (three foxes, one each raccoon, bat and skunk).

Rabies is a fatal disease that is caused by a virus. The rabies virus is present predominantly in the saliva and nervous tissue (brain and nerve cells) of infected animals and is transmitted most often by a bite. Rabies causes an inflammation of the brain and is fatal once symptoms develop.

The best ways to prevent the spread of rabies from animals to humans are:

  • Vaccinate all dogs, cats and ferrets by four months of age, by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Enjoy wildlife at a distance.
  • Secure your yard and home.
  • Do not allow your animals to roam free.
  • Avoid contact with stray animals.
  • If you are bitten or exposed to rabies, wash the wound thoroughly with lots of warm water and soap and seek medical attention immediately.

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Last Updated: 07-30-2011

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