Central Virginia Health District Reports Rabies Confirmation in Campbell County

May 17, 2024
Media Contact: Kim Foster, MHA, kimberlee.foster@vdh.virginia.gov

Central Virginia Health District Reports Rabies Confirmation in Campbell County

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Campbell County Health Department has received confirmation that a stray kitten, about 8 weeks of age, has tested positive for rabies. The kitten was found in the vicinity of Park Street and Lola Avenue in Altavista. Anyone who may have been exposed to a stray cat or other animal, by a bite, scratch or contact with saliva, in that area should consult with their physician and contact the Campbell County Health Department at (434) 332-9550. You may also contact the health department by email at AskCVHD@vdh.virginia.gov.

This incident is a reminder that rabies is present in Virginia. Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system and is lethal if proper medical care is not given following an exposure to the virus. The most common source of exposure to rabies is a bite by a rabid animal. Rabies may also be transmitted by saliva from a rabid animal coming into contact with open wounds, the mouth, eyes, or nose.

Everyone should take commonsense measures to protect themselves and their domestic animals from rabies. Pet owners should keep their pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations. 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. It is important to avoid contact with wild or stray animals, and parents should be sure that their children are taught to not touch, pet, or otherwise handle unknown animals.

Additional steps that can be taken to prevent rabies in people and pets include:

• Do not feed stray animals. Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, and skunks. Feed your pets indoors and do not let them wander.
• Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.
• Do not handle sick, injured, or dead animals. Contact a licensed wildlife rehabber if you have concerns about sick or injured wildlife.
• 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.
• Do not try to trap or handle stray and wild animals. If a bat is found indoors and may have had contact with someone, do not release it. Call your local animal control officer or health department to determine if the animal should be picked up and tested for rabies.
• Report all bites to people to the local health department for investigation.

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 health department for further recommendations.