State health officials are warning people, who may have handled a kitten in Waterbury, to seek medical attention after the animal tested positive for rabies.
The warning comes from the Connecticut Department of Public Health after a 4-month-old kitten tested positive for rabies on Friday. The animal, black and white kitten with a damaged nose, was in the area of the Wal-Mart off of Route 69 between May 15 and May 29. The kitten died on Thursday.
Health officials said the kitten was first found in the area of Wal-Mart and was then found at a town wide tag sale in Southbury on June 3. The tag sale was at the Southbury Green on Main Street. The kitten spent most of the time near the Whiskers Pet Rescue Booth during the tag sale.
The kitten came in contact with roughly 50 people, according to health officials. DPH officials said anyone who handled this cat should seek medical attention.
"It was found in Waterbury and ultimately cared for close to a week by a rescue org in Southbury," Randall Nelson with Department of Public Health Infectious Diseases said.
The kitten was found and brought to a PetSmart and later handled by an animal rescue and health department professionals.
Numerous people were bitten by the kitten though an exact number is not yet clear. Some of them were brought to a clinic for treatment.
"People who were bitten by the cat should be most concerned," Nelson said.
DPH officials said rabies is "a viral disease primarily of animals caused by infection of the brain and spinal cord." People often get rabies from the bite of an infected animal.
DPH officials said rabies is a deadly disease and before "clinical signs appear, it can be prevented by thorough wound cleaning and timely medical treatment that includes administration of one dose of immune globulin (antibodies) and 4 doses of vaccine over 2 weeks."
"People who get sick from rabies they develop a fatal encephalitis," Nelson said.
Anyone who wants to know more about human rabies exposures is asked to call DPH at 860-509-7994.
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