Lord Fairfax Health District Advises Residents of Rabid Feral Cat

April 25, 2019

For More Information, Contact

  • VDH Risk Communications Manager Lorrie Andrew-Spear – 703-530-2627

Seek Help Immediately if You Were Exposed

(WINCHESTER, Va.) — The Lord Fairfax Health District is notifying the public of a mid-sized rabid black and white feral cat, found on Ladderback Court in Winchester on Friday, April 19. Local Animal Control captured the cat and it tested positive for rabies. The feral cat is known to have interacted with one person.

The Lord Fairfax Health District would like to alert the community that anyone who encountered this cat in the area of Ladderback Court in Winchester, and was bitten, scratched, or licked by it, any time since Tuesday April 9, should report to the nearest emergency department for evaluation. Rabies is a deadly disease that is 100 percent fatal once symptoms begin, but can be prevented with treatment if it begins immediately after exposure.

The Lord Fairfax Health District encourages everyone to vaccinate their pets, to protect them, family members, loved ones and the community at large from rabies. Virginia law requires domestic animals to be vaccinated against rabies.

In addition to vaccinating pets and keeping those vaccinations current, take these steps to protect family members and pets from rabies:

  • Do not approach, handle, or feed feral cats, due to the rabies risk;
  • Avoid contact with wild animals, such as raccoons and skunks;
  • Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs;
  • Report stray animals to your local animal control agency;
  • Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home; and
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.

For more information, or if you have questions about a possible exposure, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/rabies-control/ or call Frederick-Winchester Environmental Health at 540-722-3480.

The Lord Fairfax Health District serves residents in the city of Winchester and Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties. For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/lord-fairfax/.