Saturday, September 22, 2018

DHH: Concern for rabies sends cat-bite victim to hospital

DHH: Concern for rabies sends cat-bite victim to hospital
Posted: Jul 12, 2018
Categories: Front Page, Health
Comments: 0
BATON ROUGE – A resident of St. Helena Parish was recently treated after being bitten by a cat that tested positive for rabies.

Dr. Gary Balsamo, State Public Health Veterinarian, confirmed that the exposed St. Helena resident has been treated for the disease and that tissue samples have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“With the CDC’s assistance, the goal is to determine which variant of the disease the cat had. We are also contacting others who may have been in contact with the cat,” Balsamo said.

The Louisiana Department of Health also notified the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) about this rabies case. Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said Louisiana law requires pets to be vaccinated for rabies.

“Rabies is a potentially deadly disease and this incident is very concerning. Human exposure to rabies highlights the need for all pet owners to have their animals vaccinated for rabies. Anyone who owns a dog, cat or ferret over three months old must have it properly vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian," said Strain. “Consult with your private veterinarian for vaccination protocol for your pets and livestock.”

Balsamo added, “This incident illustrates the importance of using caution around unfamiliar animals, even seemingly harmless kittens or puppies, and for making sure your own pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations."

Tips on how to keep you and your pets safe from rabies:

*Properly vaccinate all cats, dogs, and ferrets.
*Ask your veterinarian about what precautions to take if you own a horse.
*Keep vaccines up to date.
*Avoid stray animals and report strays to local animal control.
*Avoid contact with wildlife, especially skunks and bats.
*If your dog, cat, ferret or horse is sick, contact a veterinarian.
*In rural areas, take precautionary measures to protect your livestock and pets because of access to wildlife.

A virus causes rabies. It is primarily a disease of wild animals, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats, but it is easily transferred to both common house pets and humans. Rabies can be deadly if not treated.
About the Louisiana Department of Health

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. The Louisiana Department of Health includes the Office of Public Health, Office of Aging & Adult Services, Office of Behavioral Health, Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, and Healthy Louisiana (Medicaid). To learn visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or our blog.