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Rabies confirmed in cat here

District 4 public health officials have confirmed a case of rabies in a cat found here in Lamar County. From Hayla Folden, public information officer: The State Laboratory has confirmed that a stray cat in Lamar County recently tested positive for rabies. Animal Control picked up the cat in the vicinity of Ward Drive in Barnesville after it bit two people. It was sent for testing on September 18, 2018 with no other residents or animals involved. All residents are encouraged to take precautions to protect their families and pets against rabies by learning signs of rabies and vaccinating pets. Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals that is most often spread through the bite of an animal that is infected with the disease. Rabies infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy (a disease of the brain) and, ultimately, death. Early symptoms of the disease include fever and headache. As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, a slight or partial paralysis, hyper salivation, and/or difficulty swallowing. ’If you notice a wild or nocturnal animal moving about in the daytime and the animal appears to show no fear of people or the animal seems to behave in a sick or abnormal way, the animal may be infected with rabies,’ said Hayla Folden, District 4 public information officer. ‘People should avoid animals acting out of character and report it to the local health department or animal control.’ Treatment and prevention practices for rabies have proven to be almost 100 percent effective when initiated promptly. Please report any bite, scratch, or other contact with a wild animal to your local environmental health office at 770.358.1483. ’It is important to remember that although rabies occurs more often in wildlife, domestic animals like the family dog or cat can become infected as well. I strongly encourage owners to have all pets vaccinated to prevent rabies,’ said Kelly Wilson, County Environmental Health Manager. There have been five other bites investigated in Lamar County this year, with one of these testing positive in January. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of rabies cases reported annually occur in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. For more information about rabies, please contact your local animal control office, county environmental health office, or visit the Georgia Division of Public Health web site at http://dph.georgia.gov/rabies or the CDC web site at www.cdc.gov.

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