Five people exposed to rabid cat found in Wake Forest area

Wake Forest, NC – Five people have been bitten by a rabid dog in the West Wake Forest neighborhood, according to a Wake County news release.

A stray cat tested positive, the county said.

Wake County Health and Human Services and Wake County Animal Services said a woman called 911 Tuesday to report a tortoiseshell cat stuck in an area on Great Woods Road in Wake Forest near Durham and Creedmoor roads.

The woman says the cat came onto her porch, scratched and bit her, and she called animal services.

The animal tested positive for rabies, was placed in quarantine, and later died.

Four more people and a dog also succumbed to the feral cat.

Each person was immediately treated for rabies exposure, and the dog was given a rabies booster shot as a precaution.

“In order to protect our community, it’s critical that residents are aware of events like this because of the potential for exposure,” said Dr. Jennifer Federico, director of Wake County Animal Services. “Please use caution and avoid approaching unfamiliar animals. Remember: stay safe, stay informed.”

The captured feral cat is believed to be from a colony of feral cats living behind a nearby grocery store on Old Creedmoor Road. Anyone who comes into contact with the cats is encouraged to contact the Wake County Health & Human Services Communicable Disease Program at 919-250-4462.

Anyone who sees an animal acting in an unusual manner is urged to call animal control officers. Follow the guide below:

  • Do not approach animals you do not know. Exercise caution and maintain a safe distance.
  • If you are bitten or scratched by an animal with no known vaccination history, wash the wound immediately and seek medical attention.
  • Make sure your pets are currently vaccinated against rabies. If your pet is allowed outside, a booster vaccination is strongly recommended. Keep outdoor pets indoors until they receive booster vaccinations.
  • Do not feed stray or unknown animals, including cats and dogs. Avoid any contact that could result in possible exposure.
  • Do not leave trash or food out unless it is in a trash can with a tight-fitting lid. Prevent wildlife from being attracted to your property.
  • If feeding a pet outside, do not leave food out overnight. Minimize the chances of attracting animals that are susceptible to rabies.
  • If a pet comes into contact with a rabid animal, contact a veterinarian immediately. Seek professional guidance to ensure your pet’s well-being.
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