Lord Fairfax Health District Warns Berryville Residents of Rabies Risk 

February 17, 2022

Media Contact: Lorrie Andrew-Spear, lorrie.andrew-spear@vdh.virginia.gov

Lord Fairfax Health District Warns Berryville Residents of Rabies Risk
Health Department Offers Tips to Stay Safe

(Winchester, Va.) — On February 1, a kitten, part of a feral colony located 4 miles northeast of the town of Berryville, died and tested positive for rabies according to the Lord Fairfax Health District.

“This kitten no longer poses a threat,” said Lord Fairfax Acting Health District Director Dr. Alison Ansher, who stresses the importance of vaccinating your pet dogs, cats and ferrets to protect them and the community against rabies.

The health district further advises:

  • While intentions are good, animal owners should not put food out for stray or feral (wild domestic) dogs and cats. This will bring domestic and wild animals into close contact where transmission of the rabies virus can more likely occur.
  • If you have pets that live outside, feed and water them in a manner that is not an attractant to wild animals. Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home.
  • Feral or unknown cats and dogs may also carry rabies. Report any bites or scratches from these animals to your physician or the health department.
  • Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies (even if they do not go outdoors) and keep their shots up to date. Vaccinate working barn cats as well, for their protection and yours.
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.
  • Never approach or touch wild animals, especially any raccoon, fox, skunk or bat, especially if it is behaving oddly or if it is seen in the daylight. These animals, along with feral cats, are the main carriers of rabies in the eastern United States.
  • If a wild animal bites or otherwise interacts with one of your domestic animals, notify the local health department and animal control officer at once, and have the animal seen by a veterinarian.

If you are bitten, scratched or licked by any of these animals, seek medical attention immediately. Rabies is fatal to both animals and humans once symptoms begin, but it can be prevented in humans if they receive vaccine and medication soon after exposure.

Finally, if in doubt, or if you have a question, call the Clarke County Health Department at 540-955-1033.

Additional information on rabies is available from the Virginia Department of Health at www.vdh.virginia.gov/animal-contact-human-health/rabies-control/.

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/.  

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