Southside Health District Warns of Rabies Concerns

February 23, 2017

For More Information Contact

  • Matthew Lipani, Central Region Public Information Officer,
    804 864-8236

In order to protect the health of the residents and visitors, the Southside Health District (SSHD) has received confirmation that the remains of a stray cat tested positive for rabies infection. A cat found Monday, February 20 in the area of the 1400 Block of Stebbins Street in South Boston, Va. has tested positive for rabies.

The cat had black fur with no other markings. At least one person has been bitten and is currently undergoing Rabies treatment. The Southside Health District and the Halifax County Health Department ask that anyone who might have come into contact with a cat that matches this description, or a cat acting strangely in or around the area to please call the Halifax County Health Department, Environmental Health at 434-476-4863, and press 2 when prompted.

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.

Steps to Stop the Spread of Rabies:

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 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. 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.
  • If you observe any stray animals in the area, please contact the Halifax County Animal Control Division for assistance at 434-572-4292. Please 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. Please call the Halifax County Animal Control Division at 434-572-4292, to determine if the animal should be picked up and tested for rabies.
  • 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 or call the Southside Health District at 434-476-4876 or the Animal Control Division at 434-572-4292.

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