Buncombe Co. residents urged to take precautions after cat tests - FOX Carolina 21

Buncombe Co. residents urged to take precautions after cat tests positive for rabies

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Cat silhouette (Source: Pixabay) Cat silhouette (Source: Pixabay)
CANDLER, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Buncombe County health officials are warning residents to take precautions after a cat in the Candler area was confirmed to have rabies.

Health Officials with Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) announced Sunday that a cat that was taken from the Curtis Creek Community had tested positive for rabies. The cat was taken to the Buncmbe County Animal Control facility on Thursday and testing over the weekend confirmed it had the rabies virus.

The cat was large with gray, long hair, officials say.

“Rabies is a serious disease that can be fatal without immediate treatment. Any person that thinks they may have come into contact with this cat should contact Disease Control,” said Jessica Silver, BCHHS Environmental Health Director.

Residents in the area have been notified and officials are urging them to do the following:  

• Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you believe you or your child came in contact with the cat.

• Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if you believe your pet came in contact with the cat. Be sure that pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations, per North Carolina law.

• Avoid wild or unfamiliar animals: keep children and pets away from wild or strange animals, keep your pet on a leash when out for a walk, and do not rescue pets or touch wild animals. 

• If your pet comes in contact with a wild or strange animal, avoid contact with both animals.  If this occurs, residents in Buncombe County should call the Buncombe County Sherriff’s office at 250-6670. City of Asheville residents can call the Asheville Police Department at 252-1110.

• If you have been bitten by any animal, clean the wound thoroughly for at least 10 minutes. Immediately contact Animal Control if you or your pet is bitten, to assist in capturing the animal for observation and/or rabies testing.

• “Post-exposure vaccines” can prevent the transmission of the rabies disease if administered within 72 hours. If a person bitten by an animal with rabies does not get the recommended rabies post-exposure treatment, they will die, usually within just a few days after symptoms develop.

• Any medical provider who cares for someone who has been bitten by an animal must report the animal bite within 24 hours. The animal bite report form is available on our website at www.buncombecounty.org – under the “I Want to Report” section at the top of the homepage. If the animal is caught and tested and does not have rabies, you will not need to have post-exposure shots.

• In Buncombe County, contact BCHHS Disease Control at (828) 250-5106 for a consultation related to rabies exposure.

Per the release, signs of rabies in animals are changes in the animal’s behavior, general sickness, problems swallowing, increased drooling and aggression.

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