Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: June 4, 2012
WILMINGTON (June 1, 2012) - Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) is warning residents of Cedar Avenue near Del. 141 in Wilmington (19805) who may have been exposed to a cat, found to be rabid by the Delaware Division of Public Health on Friday, June 1, 2012.
The cat has been caught by animal control and euthanized. The young, black and white domestic shorthair, has bitten or scratched at least five people residing on or near Cedar Avenue near Del. 141. Anyone who thinks they might have been bitten, scratched or had saliva contact with this cat should contact their healthcare provider or call the DPH Rabies Program at 302-744-1070. An epidemiologist is available 24/7.
Residents should always take precautions against rabies by avoiding wild animals and ensuring their pets are up-to-date with rabies shots. Warm summer temperatures lead to more outdoor activities increasing possible exposure to rabies through contact with animals such as bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes.
Since January 2012, DPH has performed rabies tests on 58 animals, six of which were confirmed to be rabid including one cat, one sheep and four raccoons. Rabies cannot be cured once symptoms appear. If the animal is of unknown origin, or unavailable to be quarantined or tested, DPH recommends that people receive postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment, a series of four vaccinations, as a precautionary measure.
Rabies is an infectious disease affecting the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Infection can occur through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or if saliva from such an animal gets into the eyes, nose, mouth or an opening in the skin
Fortunately, rabies is also almost 100 percent preventable. DPH recommends that members of the public take the necessary steps to stay clear of exposure to rabies. Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner. Vaccination of pets and livestock is a crucial factor in rabies prevention.
For further information: Delaware Division of Public Health's rabies program: at www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/rabies.html or call 1-866-972-9705 or 302-744-1070.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.